Board of Education
Schools eye synthetic turf
by Celia Shortt
Synthetic turf is being considered for Coweta's high school football fields.
The Building and Grounds Committee of the Coweta County Board of Education met on Tuesday and determined the need to begin researching synthetic turf for its high school stadiums, as well as looking at potential upgrades for surveillance and communication equipment for all schools within the district.
Coweta County School Superintendent Dr. Steve Barker recommended to the committee that a separate committee of district and school-based staff be created to research the synthetic turf option in the next six to eight months.
'I feel like there is a lot of research we need to do in this area of synthetic turf,' said Barker.
Barker said the research would include but not be limited to determining which synthetic turf is best, consulting with schools and/or organizations that already have it, and determining its limitations. He also plans to have the committee involve a representative from each group that would be using the synthetic turf - athletics, band, and others.
'We'll be able to make a decision about synthetic turf at that time,' he added.
The committee will be spearheaded by an administrator but will also have district representation.
'It (the committee) will bring back the pros and cons,' said Barker. 'We won't make a decision until we have it all on the table.
Coweta Board of Education Chairman Winston Dowdell voiced his support for Barker's recommendation of forming a committee to research the project.
'I think it is a wise decision,' he said at the meeting.
Incorporating synthetic turf at the high schools was a project listed on the education-earmarked Special Local Option Sales Tax IV. The collection for the Coweta school system's SPLOST IV is still early in its entirety, but the turf project is indeed on it.
At its Tuesday meeting, the Building and Grounds Committee also heard recommendations from Dr. Doug Moore, director of Operations and Safety, on potential upgrades to the communications surveillance equipment at Coweta schools district-wide.
According to Moore, most elementary and middle schools use two-way radios to communicate throughout the school during the day. The scope of the radios, however, can lead to dead zones in the buildings. To compensate for those shortcomings, teachers and school employees have also been using the intercom and landlines.
In addition to increasing the radio communication capability, Moore said they are looking at increasing the number of surveillance cameras and linking them over the school network.
'We want to enhance communication, not only in emergencies but day-to-day operations as well,' said Barker.
Moore said they would determining whether to phase in the new equipment or replace it all at once. He also reported he is beginning the bid process now.
'[We will] try to bid this month and have something to present at December's meeting,' said Moore.
The Coweta school system's Building and Grounds Committee oversees the properties and buildings of schools and facilities within the district.