La Jolla High FieldTurf to be replaced by 2015

High school will also get major renovations for athletic facilities

By Phil Dailey

La Jolla High was the first high school in California to get an artificial playing surface for football.

That was more than 12 years ago.

Today, the battered surface is now the oldest in the state and is need of replacement.

But that is not going to happen until, most likely, 2015, according to La Jolla High School principal Dana Shelburne.

The playing surface at Gene Edwards Stadium is home to La Jolla High’s football, lacrosse, soccer and field hockey teams. The Bishop’s School also plays its home football games on the surface.

“They got their money’s worth out of this turf, especially in light of all the people who have used it,” said Rey Hernandez, head coach of the La Jolla High football team.

Though the field is worn, it has been tested and is still considered safe.

However, FieldTurf, the most well-know artificial surface supplier suggests that a “properly maintained FieldTurf synthetic turf system is expected to last 8-10 years with normal usage and adherence to guidelines.”

“It’s held up,” Hernandez said. “They test it every year to see if it’s still in playable condition and its passed the test every time.”

There is a reason for the long wait until the turf gets replaced and it has to do with Proposition “S,” which was passed in 2008 providing $2.1 billion to repair and renovate San Diego Unified Schools. There are many schools in the district that are in need of athletic facilities upgrades and several that have already benefited with new turf, lights, tracks, weight rooms and total facilities upgrades. The list so far includes: Hoover High, Point Loma High, Patrick Henry High and University City High.

It’s not whether the turf — and the rest of the facilities at LJHS — get a facelift, its when. All Shelburne knows is that it will happen in the next few years.

The wait should be worth it as the site of the football field, track and tennis courts will undergo a major overhaul.

The area where the boys locker room currently sits, which is accessed by downward steps from the field, will be brought up to the same level as the track and football field.

“The goal then is to build a visitors-side snack shack with handicap accessible bathrooms,” Shelburne said. “Next to that will be a brand new weight room, next to that will be a new boys locker room and next to that will 
permanent bleachers.”

And, of course, the centerpiece will be the plush green turf and a new track.

“The new one will look a lot snappier,”Shelburne said. “Now that they (the school district) are putting in turf they have the school logo in the middle of the field, and in the end zone they have the name of the school and in the other end zone they have the mascot name.

Those options were available in 2000 when the turf originally went in, but at a cost that was not in the school’s budget.

To get an idea of what it cost for a new field, Torrey Pines High School (which is in the San Dieguito Union High School District) recently installed its field for a cost of $1.25 million

Along with the football field upgrades, the tennis courts will be upgraded with new stands.