Looking back, Dave Goddard believes it was the right decision.
The Arlington High School athletic director reflected back to 2005, when he researched a presentation to have the district buy two FieldTurf fields for the high school in Freedom Plains.
“At that time, there were so many companies that had the product, and they went by a variety of different names,” Goddard said. “People say you’re putting down FieldTurf. FieldTurf is a brand name. I went to a couple of seminars. I visited Giants Stadium because the same product we have now was put down at Giants Stadium. I went to a variety of places to look at their facilities and speak with their people.
“I did my homework — a lot of it.”
Arlington taxpayers approved a bond in December 2005 for the installation of the two fields. The district spent about $800,000 per field and became the first Dutchess County high school to have synthetic fields.
“We’ve had the opportunities to keep our kids engaged in athletics,” Goddard said. “We had teams, added teams. They’re playing on a surface that is safe in our opinion and allows us to be more consistent with scheduling, and limits cancellations due to weather. For us, it’s been tremendous.”
Arlington baseball teams use the baseball field with a FieldTurf infield. The Arlington soccer, field hockey, football and lacrosse teams are among those using the 120-yard turf fields. Physical-education classes also use the fields, and they are used for sectional and state playoff games. Arlington also permitted use of the fields to other local schools if their fields were not playable due to weather.
“You will get true bounces and a good first touch on the turf. There are no divots or ditches on a turf field,” Arlington senior soccer player David Verdis said.
The synthetic field turf, referred to as the third-generation artificial turf, is safer than the original artificial surface, which was a rug placed on a hard surface. Synthetic field turf, which looks like a grass surface and is placed on top of rubber, costs less than natural grass for routine maintenance.
“They’re improving like computers and iPhones,” Goddard said. “There is new technology in these fields, too. It’s competitive, and they want to be ahead of the curve. There may be a product out there better than what we have now, and five years from now there may be another product.
“I’m very pleased with our choice.”