Hamilton’s famed Big Blue sports program just got bluer.
A new, $400,000 second-generation surface of artificial turf was recently laid down in Hamilton High School’s Virgil M. Schwarm Stadium.
And not only does it sport a state-of-the-art surface and upgraded under girding, but it also has more and larger sections of the name sake for one of Butler County’s most storied prep nicknames.
“We are the Big Blue and we wanted to make sure the blue stood out,” said Hamilton High School Athletic Director Todd Grimm.
Unlike the previous turf, all of each end zone has strikingly deep blue hues as does a larger, mid-field school logo.
“It stands out. It’s so bright and some our kids joke you can see it from outer space. The kids are excited about it and we’re excited about it,” said Grimm.
The new artificial turf field, which will also provide a new, all-weather playing surface for girls and boys soccer, football, marching bands and physical education classes for Hamilton High School.
And the city’s Badin High School sports teams also use the playing field.
School officials said the artificial playing surface also generates money for Hamilton Schools through hosting state playoffs and rentals to youth and adult recreational sports leagues year around.
“Our community has done a great job in supporting us and allowing us to have these kind of facilities,” he said.
More than a decade ago saw the revolution of prep athletic fields in Southwest Ohio switching from natural grass to plastic turf.
The artificial turf fields, which ranged in costs from $1 million to $2 million, greatly expanded the frequency of sports field use during the school year for both boys and girls sports but also the average student participating in physical education classes.
In the long-term, the so-called “turf” fields were cost effective, safer and a source of income for area school districts who rented the playing surfaces out to non-school youth sports and adult recreational leagues year-around.
The first generation of fake grass fields were projected by manufacturers to last about a decade. Hamilton’s original plastic field lasted 11 years.
“We got a lot of great wear out of that turf,” said Grimm.
As in Hamilton’s case, the $400,000 in replacement costs are substantially less than the original purchase price for schools because the underlying support and drainage systems remains in place.