Playing surfaces one factor contributing to Poudre School District snow removal decisions

Playing surfaces one factor contributing to Poudre School District snow removal decisions

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Playing surfaces one factor contributing to Poudre School District snow removal decisions

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A late-season flurry has again left the spring sports season aflutter, as area prep sports teams postponed or canceled multiple events Tuesday and Wednesday.

The events canceled within city limits have a number of factors to thank for postponements, one of which is the Poudre School District practice of only allowing the snow to melt freely without any removal in an effort to preserve playing surfaces.

Danielle Clark, district communications director, said it’s a practice, not a policy, and it’s one that reflects guidelines on the various surfaces’ use.

Vendors, who install athletic surfaces ranging from the newly installed French Field turf to area tennis courts, give the district guidelines or best practices for preserving playing surfaces.

“For tennis courts, it’s recommended that you don’t clear them at all,” Clark said. “Artificial turf, they say if you’re going to plow, (the snow) needs to be deep enough that you aren’t going to damage the rubber backing.”

In the case of real grass, Clark said there is concern that a tractor plow could leave ruts in the softened field.

Clark said the district works with taxpayer dollars and tries to be a good steward of that money.

Weld RE-4 School District, which encompasses Windsor and Severance, has a similar practice in place. Steve Denny, who is director of maintenance and operations, said any snow removal the district does is done with caution.

“That’s probably the one thing that takes place that could cause the most damage to the surface,” said Denny, referring to plowing athletic surfaces.

Denny and Clark said their respective districts weigh the importance of the athletic events against the potential for damage to fields. Playoff games get preference, and sometimes difficulty in rescheduling events can play a role in a school or district’s decision to plow or postpone.

Clark pointed out many factors play in to decisions to cancel or postpone events, and snow removal is just one piece of that puzzle.

“Coaches and athletic directors collaborate and work with facility folks based on the surface conditions,” Clark said. “Those decisions are also made in collaboration with team directors for other teams.”

In the case of Wednesday’s scheduled tennis match, which was rescheduled from Tuesday, bitter cold and biting wind persuaded coaches to call off the match because they didn’t think it was in the best interest of the players, Clark said.

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