As Ross Schools moves closer to their first artificial turf field, a neighboring community’s grant of $100,000 has them closer to the goal line.
Officials with the Hamilton Community Foundation announced this week they will donate $100,000 to Ross Schools’ historic effort to install its first turf field.
The rural Butler County school system was among the final three districts — including Madison and New Miami schools — to still play prep sports on natural grass fields last school year.
The foundation’s “commitment essentially completes funding for Phase 1 of the project, which is the synthetic turf field,” Ross officials stated in announcing the grant.
“Fund-raising efforts will continue to help accomplish Phase 2 of the project which includes a renovated press box and new, eight-lane track,” said school officials.
The total cost of the Ross Community Activity Complex is approximately $1.2 million. Private and corporate donors have contributed nearly $700,000 to date, including the foundation’s grant.
“This one is special because the Hamilton Community Foundation has been such a strong partner in this project from the beginning,” said Jake Richards, athletic director for Ross Schools.
“We reached out to HCF back in October for guidance on running a capital campaign, and (foundation president) John Guidugli and (foundation vice president) Katie Braswell helped us structure our campaign in a way that ultimately made it successful,” said Richards.
“The foundation’s commitment to this project and the Ross community means the world to us,” he said.
Artificial turf fields range in cost from $500,000 to more than $1 million, and usually last from 10 to 15 years of use. More than a dozen years ago artificial turf playing fields began showing up at Southwest Ohio high schools due to enhanced affordability.
The advantages of plastic grass fields for boys and girls sports were obvious.
The plastic grass fields are more durable, cost less to maintain than natural fields, and can even become revenue generators for school districts that rent the fields to local youth and adult sports leagues.
Non-prep sports participants — such as gym classes and marching bands — can also use the fields nearly year around.
Construction is scheduled to be finished on Ross’ new field by Aug. 9.
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