When Howard County Executive Ken Ulman tosses the coin for the Wilde Lake at Atholton High football game on Friday, the field will have a very different feel than in years past.
The 7 p.m. kickoff will mark the premier of turf football fields in Howard County–the first of 12 synthetic fields the county plans to install at all of its public high schools.
Synthetic turf has also been installed at Hammond and Howard High Schools, which will also premier their new fields on Friday, according to a county press release.
The Howard County Board of Education approved the building of the fields in December in a 4-3 vote. With a price tag of $1 million a piece, the project saw considerable dissent.
Clarksville resident Sue Medicus told Patch in December that she "was just astounded when this passed–a lot of us were."
But the county insists the fields are a long-term investment that will save the county in water and maintenance costs, since the fields require minimal upkeep compared to real grass fields.
Board member Sandra French, who voted in favor of the fields, said that moving to synthetic fields is a "wise decision," according to The Howard County Times.
Other local leaders, including Howard County Council members Mary Kay Sigaty and Courtney Watson, State Senator Ed Kasemeyer, Delegates Guy Guzzone, Frank Turner, Steven DeBoy and Elizabeth Bobo, Howard County Board of Education member Janet Siddiqui, and Deputy Superintendent Ray Brown will join Ulman in the ribbon cutting at Atholton on Friday.
Ribbon cutting ceremonies are scheduled for the fields at Hammond and Howard High Schools later in the season.
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