College Planning & Management

FEB 2013

College Planning & Management is the information resource for professionals serving the college and university market. Covering facilities, security, technology and business.

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Business PHOTO COURTESY OF WIGHT & CO. MANAGING HIGHER ED Athletic Fields as an Investment Benefts, challenges, and planning considerations for installing synthetic turf. BY ED FARON, BY RON W Y NS, AND CR AIG POLTE E ACH YEAR, HUNDREDS of universities and colleges must replace or upgrade their aging athletic fields and facilities. Although cost is always the number-one concern in decisions about when and how this will be done, some institutions see such fields as a potential source for new revenues. Generating rental income from local youth football and soccer programs was one of the main reasons why the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL, replaced its grass field with a multipurpose synthetic surface for football and soccer competitions and practice. "Our football and athletic field is today a true source of revenue for the College," comments Paul Zakowski, athletic director 44 at College of DuPage. "Currently, we have a local high school that rents the facility for home football games, a local parochial school uses the field for Sunday football games, and our biggest rental user is a local soccer club that is on the field most evenings after intercollegiate practices are completed. The soccer club begins using the field in late February and has it booked well into the fall. "Not only has the field turned into a solid revenue stream for the College, but we also have the benefit of having a large number of potential future students and their families come to our campus for practices and games. Most of these athletes would not have had the opportunity to set foot on our campus — and experience the College of DuPage — if they were not a part COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT / FEBRUARY 2013 of one of the groups that rent our facilities," Zakowski adds. Examining the Benefits For obvious reasons, synthetic turf is the surface of choice for new or replacement athletic fields at most universities. Compared to natural grass, synthetic turf is much more durable, has lower maintenance costs, and does not require irrigation. (Depending on the region of the country, a typical grass sports field can use between 500,000 to 1,000,000 gallons of water each year.) Plus, the latest generation of synthetic turf replicates natural grass in appearance, function, and safety for athletes. Athletic field renovations and/or construction projects present a variety of WWW.PLANNING 4EDUCATION.COM

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