Artficial turf fields approved for North Haven Middle School

Artficial turf fields approved for North Haven Middle School


Artificial turf fields are coming to North Haven after the Middle School Building Committee okay-ed two new fields on April 3 as part of the $69 million school renovation project approved by residents in 2014.

The decision to build the fields was delayed by other work, including the new classroom building that opened last September.

Gary Johns, chair of the Middle School Building Committee, said the committee approved the fields by a unanimous 9-0 vote after determining that $2 million is available for their completion. The Gilbane Building Company will construct the fields using Sprinturf products.

Johns said the two turf fields, which are being constructed along with a renovation of the natural grass softball field, will be completed in November.

The danger of crumb rubber turf fields as a cancer risk is often an issue that arises before new artificial fields are built. North Haven has opted to use an alternative fill that is safer.

Johns said the town will use coated crumb rubber for the fields and first selectman Mike Freda said, “The crumb rubber is encapsulated with water-based material that acts as a cooling agent on fields.”

Representatives from Sprinturf and Gilbane declined to discuss the materials that will be used in the fields.

Michelle Spader, a member of the building committee who voted to approve the project after initial opposition, said, “I don’t want to be responsible for something that could hurt our children in the future and that is why I was not voting for the crumb rubber. But I cannot find any information that tells me the encapsulated rubber poses the same threat. I only voted yes because it is encapsulated and the coating has a 10-year life.”

Spader said other materials could have been used, including coconut husks, but they are much more expensive and require a different amount of maintenance.

Spader said many of the residents who approved the middle school funding referendum in 2014 specifically supported artificial turf fields. “A lot of people voted for this project because they wanted turf, but I would have been happy with the minimal amount of artificial turf because I don’t feel comfortable with all the questions that are out there about the health concerns,” she added.

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