Did you have to get permission to have a blue field?
Yes! Boise State holds the trademark for blue turf athletic fields. We submitted an application, went through their review process, and in December 2019 received formal permission from Boise State University to install blue turf.
When will the field be open for use?
Because the school is temporarily closed due to the Coronavirus, the athletic field may not be used. However, as soon as restrictions are lifted and schools have permission to resume activities, the field will be available for use.
How is the field being paid for?
The cost of the mitigation efforts, removal of the old turf, installation of the new turf, and restoration of the track surface is being paid for from several funding sources. First, the school had in reserve the money that was originally set aside for field maintenance as part of the original turf installation. These funds were used toward the new turf costs. Second, working with our State Representative, Amy Grant, we will be receiving a grant to cover the cost of removing the collapsed culvert in Winfield Creek. Finally, several individual donors have made gifts to help make this new field a reality. We continue to secure additional funding as part of Phase 1 of our new strategic plan.
Will the field flood again?
Recall in our previous FAQs that we explained the field is located in a federal designated floodplain; this area is designed to flood not just by the authorities, but God—it is the natural contour of the land and predates the existence of St. Francis High School.
What did you do to mitigate the flooding problem?
From the moment we began considering installing a new turf field, flood mitigation has been the utmost priority. While it took almost a year, we worked very closely with the four entities that share governing rights over the floodway: City of Wheaton; DuPage County Stormwater Management; Illinios Department of Natural Resources; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This was a very collaborative and creative process and resulted in the following:
Permission to remove the primary source of blockage in the creek running alongside the field.
The school applied for and after 6 months, received a permit to have an old culvert removed from the creek. This culvert was located underneath the footbridge that leads to the baseball/softball field. Over time the culvert collapsed and created a bottleneck preventing the creek water from flowing freely. In February we received a permit to have the culvert removed. This is a protected wetlands area so the work was required to be performed by hand. DuPage County Stormwater Management performed all the work to remove the culvert and reinforce the creek banks.
These pictures show the area under the footbridge before and after the removal of the collapsed culvert
Received permit to install a silt sock along the perimeter of the creek
The original field was damaged not from water, but from silt that came from the creek when the creek overflowed. The accumulation of silt over time led to complete blockage of the webbed turf fabric and prevented water from draining into the 3 foot deep rock bed drain basin located underneath the field. After nearly five months, the school received permission to install a silt sock that runs the perimeter of the track. This silt sock is designed to capture silt while allowing water to flow through. It will be replaced on a periodic basis ensuring
What is different about how you are taking care of the field?
In addition to the mitigation efforts described, we have a fixed service plan for cleaning the field after a flood. This plan was built into the contract of the installation, and the associated costs are included in the annual operating budget.
What is being done to ensure the new field is not damaged from flooding?
When a flood does occur, the field must immediately be serviced after the water drains. Prior to any used of the field, the necessary cleaning process is performed. This process removes all silt, replaces any lost infill, and thus prolongs the life of the field. In addition, the service contract includes 3 field cleanings a year prior to each season (fall, spring, summer). This new aggressive and immediate approach to cleaning the field after a flood is intended to prevent a repeat of the scenario that occurred with the original turf.
Was the rock bed underneath the field also damaged?
Thankfully, no! The original design and planning for the field took into consideration the need to capture excess water. Underneath the turf is a three-foot deep basin with rocks in graduating size from small to large. Heading in to the installation of the new turf, we pulled back the damaged turf to inspect the rock bed. Based on our inspection there was 85% certainty that the damaged turf effectively prevented any silt from entering into the underlying rock bed. That proved to be true. As you can see in the photos, once the old turf was removed, the underlying rock bed was as pristine as it was six years ago. The drainage system is fully functional and will allow any water that gets on the field (from rain or flooding) to drain and be diverted back into Winfield Creek according to the regulations we must adhere to.
Is this the last time the turf has to be replaced?
The life span of any turf field is 8-10 years depending on wear and tear. Our long term plans call for replacing the turf again in 10 years. This is standard for all turf fields, and the preventative and post-flooding cleaning that we have in place will enable us to get the longest life possible out of the turf.
Does the school need assistance related to the field?
Yes. First, please offer prayers of thanksgiving for this fantastic new facility! Throughout the review period I asked for your prayers. Now that we have finished the project, it is only fitting that we give thanks for the new field and the Lord’s guidance and provision over the past year.
Second, we are still raising additional funds to cover the full cost of the field. Any financial support you may want to consider in support of St. Francis High School, our students, and the future success of the school’s strategic plan is greatly appreciated.