Turf Football Fields Premier Friday in Howard County

Three synthetic football fields at high schools will see their first action on Friday.


When Howard County Executive Ken Ulman tosses the coin for the at 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 and Schools, which will also premier their new fields on Friday, according to a county press release.

The Howard County Board of Education . 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.

For more news on synthetic turf, follow these links:

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Jack August 29, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Want to know the truth? Sorry the hcpss is hiding behind the MPIA. Asking for the truth will not get an answer and neither will a MPIA because the hcpss never did the research. This information should exist and be available to every parent but it does not. Hi Mr. Thompson, Please submit to me a Maryland Public Information Act request delineating the specific questions you would like answered from the school system in regard to the artificial turf fields. This will be helpful to us in responding to your concerns. Many thanks, Rebecca Amani-Dove Director of Communications
Mike August 30, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Did the Democratic Party of Howard County write this press release? Why would so many "dignitaries" be needed at such an event. Freese is allowing this? Sick...
Jack August 30, 2012 at 04:24 AM
This appeared first on the HCPSS website and is one of the few things to be placed on there since Foose was hired behind our backs. Call her and ask her to tell you the truth, ask some of the questions I just raised like I did and see if you get an honest response. She can't give you one because the hcpss was incompetent and did not perform any analysis. Foose is a fraud, a mouth piece for the same ole garbage Howard county has been saddled with for years in the hcpss.
Sue Medicus August 30, 2012 at 09:53 AM
The cost analysis I performed (when the county said one wasn't necessary) showed that the net cost, after all the purported savings, was a net present value OUTFLOW of over $6million. so much for efficient government. There are so many better uses of $6million that turf fields.
Cooke August 30, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Jack, you have issues and bitter. Sounds like you have a beef with HCPSS and using the turf field to complaint because you didn't get what you wanted. You probably complain about jet planes flying over Columbia to/from BWI. Turf fields have been around Howard County and Maryland for years and also the across the country for decades.
Mark Regal August 30, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Jack, Did HCPR do a cost analysis and an analysis of all the carcinogens, chemicals, toxins when they installed the same fields all over the county? If yes, are these analyses available for public consumption? I would prefer one county entity share their findings with another as opposed to paying for 2 independent studies.
Thomas Diller August 30, 2012 at 04:05 PM
*YAWN* I think the world knows you'll never fill out a MPIA request Jack. Ms Amani-Dove already stated that you could have all the specific info that you want if you fill it out. But filling it and getting the info you want would just show that you and all the bozos at HowardPublicEd were wrong all this time
Jack August 30, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Follow the procedure, fill out a MPIA request and give the hcpss 30 days to decide what informaton they are willing to share with the public. Can't simply ask for the truth. Is this the kind of people we want around our children? We are about to have a political event on Friday at Atholton, not to benefit your children but for the benefit of a few who hold power by denying the public access to information about our own children.
DawnP August 30, 2012 at 05:33 PM
This is pretty standard for any government agency -- if you want information from a state or federal agency, chances are you'll be asked to go through formal channels there as well. This doesn't mean that anyone's hiding anything, it merely means that they all have other jobs to do besides sitting around and answering questions from every citizen with a bee in their bonnet -- and the formal process allows them to track requests and responses in a way that's not possible with ad hoc requests. This seems like a silly thing to complain about. If you want the info, file the MPIA request.
Thomas Diller August 30, 2012 at 06:10 PM
There's no way Jack will do it. This happened a few years ago when Jack thought the roofs at schools were unsafe after the blizzard. Jack pestered the employees at the HCPSS until Ken Roey sent Jack an email, detailing everything they did to insure the roofs were safe and how they prepared the schools to reopen. This wasn't good enough for Jack, so he wasted more time of Mr Roey (and the tax dollars of the Ho Co citizens) with even more foolish emails after that until Mr Roey finally got fed up with him and told him to file a MPIA request and he'd be more than happy to provide him with the specific info he's looking for. Of course Jack refused to do this so he could spend the next few years claiming that the HCPSS risked the lives of the children of Howard County. It's part of his MO. He doesn't care about the turf fields. He's just afraid that if he gets the info that he requests, he'll finally have nothing to complain about.
Jack August 30, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Actually Mr. Diller when we had the back to back blizards Mr. Cousin had Mr. Roey email me all the information which I posted to Howardpubliced. There was no roof inspection but after the first blizards there was a general letter from an engineering firm which stated the roofs were at capacity and of a concern. Nothing further and the hcpss had no idea if the roofs were safe when Cousin opened the schools but they were well aware the weight exceeded the structural limits by as much as 3 times. Now Mr. Roey says he would handle it the same way so if one of the hcpss roofs ever colapses under excessive load the evidence of their negligence is documented albeit this matters little if one of us looses a child.
Jack August 30, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Standard policy when the hcpss fails the public by making false claims and lies it then becomes the public's responsibility to file a MPIA request for information the hcpss never compiled. That is interesting. The last meeting was held at Glenelg and I was there. The HCRP did admit then the fields were not safer and it was recorded. Now I must admit the director for the HCRP was interested in a discussion of the issues but Mr. Roey would have no part of it. Hard to speak to a man who only does what he is told and will not discuss the issues.
Thomas Diller August 31, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Good one Jack! You once mentioned on HPE that when you were grilling the HCPSS staff about the snow damage (after they had consistently provided you with everything you asked for up to that point), you were "kindly told by Mr. Roey's secretary that if I wanted anything specific such as the roof damage at each individual school , just to put it in writing and they would gather it." It couldn't have been easier for you. So when I asked you what you found out from the information, you responded with: "If I want to know the extent of the roof damage became I could file a freedom of information request and as you know there are procedures which the hcpss follows to comply with such a request to include denial of in some situations. I never pursued the expense as it was irrelevant to the issue." So without filing the MPIA when given the opportunity, you were then able to spend the next 2 1/2 years telling everyone that HCPSS put everyone's kids at risk (without even knowing). And I'm sure you'll do the same here! Like I said, you probably couldn't care less about the turf fields. But finding out that the HCPSS did the right thing would give you very little to complain about.
Cooke August 31, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Hello Jack, please get yourself a Twitter account and tweet your rants on that website. This is not your personal website or the hcpss complaint website. Please do not show up to the Atholton HS game. You scare me and my kids!
Jack August 31, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Good one Thomas, I see you have no issue with fact like we have building codes which the hcpss also referenced. No issue with an engineering firm after the first storm telling the hcpss the roofs had exceeded their structural limits including buit in safety measures and were of concern. No issue with the second storm doubling the weight on these roofs and placing them at 3 times their limit and in some places more. Absolutely no issue with the hcpss playing Russian Roulette with the lives of the children and staff in Howard county. And yes their was extensive damage including a roof at I believe Hammond where the students had to be evacuated whie crews removed the load (snow which had drifted as high as 10 feet on some roofs) so it would not colapse. Yes hcpss had a lot of roof damage and did ask me if I wanted specific details about the damage to file a MPIA request. The amount of roof damage is one issue, negligence which could result in catastrophic failure and take the lives a large number of children was my main concern. Since you follow Howardpubliced you will also be aware I posted all the school roof colapses which occured from these back to back blizards.
Jack August 31, 2012 at 05:22 AM
Yes, we have plans for excessively hot days. Because sports begin in mid-August and end in Memorial Day Saturday, the majority of the really hot days will see Rec & Parks using the new fields. We also use the fields after the hotter parts of the day for games. That said, the fields can reach temps of 150 degrees. We will be following our Heat Acclimization Rules, mandated by State law beginning the first day of practice (August 11). •Our guidelines were developed and approved by our Sports Medicine Medical Advisory Committee doctors (Doctors Rooks, Dreese and McKay). •These guidelines, while not mandating morning or evening practices, force the coaches to limit practice time, no matter what sport. Most practices will be early morning or late afternoon, further limiting the hot temps. •Our own rules limit the amount of practice time ton both school days and non-school days. •These guidelines limit the use of protective equipment, especially in football We have had Heat Index and Air Quality procedures in place for over 20 years that limit practices and games when Code Red or Yellow are in effect. •We monitor the codes through the internet. •I have purchased a Heat Index Monitor for each athletic trainer. They can monitor the heat (temperature) and humidity (moisture) at any location.
Jack August 31, 2012 at 05:23 AM
We have, for emergencies, ordered submersion tubs for each school. Any student suffering heat illness can be submerged in ice water in the event 911 is activated. Our coaches, athletic trainesr, and AAMs are in-serviced annually on our heat acclimization and heat index guidelines. Finally, we, like Rec and Parks, will shut down the fields if temperatures are excessive. Mike Williams, CMAA Coordinator of Athletics Howard County Public School System 410-313-6631
Jack August 31, 2012 at 05:26 AM
Below is from Mr. Bruzga The "heat index" is applicable to the entire season, not just during the heat acclimatization period. This index measures an index of humidity and temperature. (We are aware that the heat index can vary in different parts of Howard County.) If the heat index is 105 or higher, a "code red" is declared and no games or practices are held on any type of athletic field, including those containing artificial turf. We have electronic heat index monitors that measure the heat index at a specific location, including locations containing artificial turf.
Jack August 31, 2012 at 05:32 AM
1. What is HCPSS doing about monitoring the turf fields? We monitor the heat index daily, when appropriate. The heat index is a combination of temperature and humidity. If the heat index reaches 84 we are Code Green and provide mandatory 10 minute rest per 45 minutes of activity . Water is to be available to athletes at all times. At a heat index of 95 we go to Code Yellow and modify practices with frequent (required) water breaks. Games/event may continue with mandatory official time outs midway between quarters. Provide a water stop (mandatory) midway in cross country meets Observe athletes carefully for signs of heat injuries. Make sure all athletesdrink water. 2. How often do we monitor these fields? We monitor before using them, just like every other field. 3. What equipment does HCPSS use to monitor the temperature on the fields. We have electronic Heat Index Monitors. The model is called SkyScan TI Plus. Cost $110 each. We have had these for 5 years. At the August meeting ( 8/9/12) with the Athletic Trainers. We replace all of the batteries, ensuring that the monitor has not been lost and that the monitor is functional. 4. What does HCPSS do once the temperatures reach over 105 degrees We go to Code Red when the heat index reaches 105. Code red means at that site we discontinue regular practice. All outside athletic events are canceled. Very short restrictive practice is permitted. Practice indoors if possible.
Jack August 31, 2012 at 05:42 AM
2. How often do we monitor these fields? We monitor before using them, just like every other field. There is the problem folks the old policy did not take into account artificial turf (it is outdated) which heats up rapidly from solar radition and retains heat. To check these fields befor use such as in the morning means days like Friday when it will be hot, sunny and about 95 degrees will mean children will be on them when they are easily 150 degrees. This is willful negligence, endangering their health and threatening their lives. Thomas I thank you for bringing up the negligence of the hcpss durring the back to back blizards and demonstrating a patern of negligence on part of the hcpss.
Thomas Diller August 31, 2012 at 02:40 PM
What specifically are the "false claims and lies" you are talking about? I'm sure you have something from the HCPSS to back up this statement.
Thomas Diller August 31, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Jack, post the letter from the engineering company that states exactly what you have posted here. Also, list all the schools that had "a lot of roof damage". I'm assuming that this list came from HCPSS, so please post that letter as well.
Thomas Diller August 31, 2012 at 02:45 PM
In your own post you state that HCPSS monitors the fields before using them. Why would you use an example like them checking the fields in the morning of a school day when the fields won't be used until after school? This, like most of your rants, just doesn't make sense. Also, please post the info you get from MPIA when you get it!
Jack August 31, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Thomas you need a dance partner who can respect the fine art of selective memory when going in circles with you. The report from the Virginia engineering company was posted on Howardpubliced for everyone but if you don't save things of importance than I will go back through my records and get it for you or you can call Mr. Roey as he knows exactly which report because one of his employees was a former employee of the engineeering firm. False claims and lies like the fields are safer, cost less and so on. You seem to be preoccupied defending the hcpss to the point you are having trouble following along. "HCPSS monitors the fields before using them" and "fields in the morning of a school day when the fields won't be used until after school" Really, not used until after school. Rec and Park gets them after 6pm when it is cooler and hcpss leaves them at 5:15pm. You forgot about summer practice, JV games today at 4pm and all the other people who are supposed to benefit from them like gym class durring the day. Thomas, I do appreciate you clarifying for everyone the past and continued negligence of the hcpss
Thomas Diller September 01, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Jack, Still waiting for you to post the report that HCPSS sent you from the engineering firm that claims "the roofs had exceeded their structural limits including buit in safety measures and were of concern." Certainly you're being truthful here (as you usually are). I've already spent a good deal of time searching for this report on HPE and I don't want to bother Mr Roey's office with this request since you already have it at your fingertips. So please post this in your next response. As for the turf fields, I'm sure you and I can both agree that your claims are as baseless as an Allen Dyer lawsuit.
Jack September 01, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Thomas, You really do not want the 23 Feb 10 email from Roey about what the hcpss did and did not do with 3 attachments. 1) Feb 18 regarding roof deflection at Hammond from Gale associates to their former employee Mr. Savje. 2) Feb 9 from Howard county dept of inspections, license and permits regarding Snow Load and Structural Stability, Winter Storm Update Information: February 9, 2010 or even 3)Feb 9 General guidelines for snow load from Gale associates. I did make a mistake as Gale associates is in Towson, not Virginia. What you really want is to call Mr. Roey and have him tell you just as he told me that this is all there is. Get it, Thomas, no one inspected these roofs not even Gale associates befor the schools were opened. The hcpss can't even tell you to this day what each of their roofs will hold and had no idea how much weight was on them when the schools reopened. Now we are looking at the hcpss knowingly endangering the health and lives of our children with another extreme. The carcinogens and heat on turf fields.
Thomas Diller September 01, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Jack, Please post the report that HCPSS sent you from the engineering firm that claims "the roofs had exceeded their structural limits including buit in safety measures and were of concern." That's what I'm waiting for!
Jack September 01, 2012 at 11:27 PM
They are too large for patch but they are somewhere on Howardpubliced after 23 feb 10. What you really want is to know 2 of these 3 attachments is all the hcpss had to rely on when they reopened the schools. There was no competent roof inspection by anyone period. The third attachment discusses the roof deflection at Hammond, the closing of Hammond and the removal of the load (ice, water and snow) from the roof. After the load was removed Gale associates inspected only that roof. Think of a roof like a spring, downward deflection is the direction of colapse. Remove the load and it returns to normal, leave the load and risk catastropic failure. Don't know what the the structural limits are and don't measure the load is negligence, open the doors, hope for the best is criminal. I am not giving you hard time as my interest is our children's well being. If you can't find it on Howardpubliced than give Mr. Roey a call because there is nothing more. The hcpss beyond luck has nothing to offer the public in this case. I believe the boe discussed this at some point afterward however to this day there is no policy to cover this. After I posted the information above is when I was told to file a MPIA for all other damage as it was extensive.
Thomas Diller September 03, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Jack, I'm not asking you to post the report. Just post the full paragraph of the report that states "the roofs had exceeded their structural limits including buit in safety measures and were of concern."
Thomas Diller September 05, 2012 at 08:25 PM
C'mon Jack! I know you have that a copy of that report at your fingertips. Just post the paragraph that says "the roofs had exceeded their structural limits including buit in safety measures and were of concern."


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