One of the last school systems in Butler County still playing sports on natural grass will soon be trading in turf for plastic.
Officials at Ross Schools announced they will install an artificial turf field in their stadium by the start of classes in August.
Ross had been one of three local districts — along with Madison and New Miami — still playing football, soccer, and other boys and girls sports on natural grass fields.
Madison officials earlier this year said they plan to also convert to artificial turf, but an exact timetable for the conversion hasn’t been announced.
For the rural Ross Schools, modernizing its sports stadium is historic, said school officials.
“This facility upgrade allows us to continue to offer the best possible experience to our students and our families moving forward,” said Jake Richards, athletic director for Ross Schools.
The costs will be almost entirely covered by local industry and individual donations rather than tax dollars, said school officials.
Artificial turf fields range in costs from $500,000 to more than $1 million, and usually last from 10-15 years of use.
“During a six-month capital campaign, both corporate and community donors have contributed nearly $500,000 in an effort to consolidate the existing grass football and soccer game fields into one synthetic turf surface at the current stadium,” school officials said in a released statement.
“The field will be lined for football and soccer, and allow for multi-sport training throughout the year. It will also be available for many community-based activities and rental.”
Brian Martin, principal of Ross High School, said “the exciting thing about this project is that it has been driven by private and corporate donors. Any time you can make significant improvements to your facilities without relying on tax dollars, that constitutes a win for our district, as well as our community.”
“We’re one of the last schools in Butler County and our (sports) conference to install turf, and I know our kids are going to be excited about playing on it,” said Martin.
Richards said the field will also be available for use and rental to area youth and adult sports teams.
“Not only will student-athletes benefit from this improvement, but many student and community groups will be able to utilize the facility as well,” said Richards.
Construction is set to begin on June 10 and finish by Aug. 9.
A public ceremonial ground-breaking — where donors will be recognized — is scheduled at the stadium on the Ross High School and Middle School campus at 3601 Hamilton-Cleves Road on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.
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