Four football fields in the Chaffey Joint Union High School District will soon be receiving makeovers in the form of $6 million worth of synthetic turf.

The new turf will begin to be installed this week at Los Osos High School in Rancho Cucamonga and the first week of May at Colony High School in Ontario.

Montclair High School as well as Chaffey High School in Ontario will receive the turf in 2010.

"Before the turf, we had live grass, so this synthetic product, that is artificial turf, will have the advantage to withstand a lot of wear and tear that grass can't," said Lynn Murphy, the district's assistant superintendent of business.

The turf's life expectancy is from eight to 12 years, and includes an eight-year warranty. The turf for each field is estimated to cost $1.5 million.

The synthetic turf is a cost-saving measure for the school district, as it will only have to be watered before it is used in the summer, said Mike Harrison, district director of operations and planning.

"Synthetic turf is a reflecting surface and not an absorbing one, so we'll just have to water it in the summer right before football practice to cool the area," Harrison said.

Murphy said she is frequently asked how the school district could be laying off teachers while installing the synthetic turf.

She said the money used to pay for the synthetic turf does not come from the district's general fund, but from bonds, state grants as well as developer and redevelopment fees, which can only be used to fund facility projects or construction.


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"That pot cannot be used to pay salaries or used for daily operational services such as paying utility bills or purchasing textbooks," Murphy said.

The new fields at Los Osos and Colony high schools are expected to be finished by the fall, in time for football season.

Los Osos High will host its June graduation ceremony on the new field, despite it still being under construction.

However, Colony High's graduation will be moved to the Chaffey High School stadium.

While construction crews are busy digging out old turf and installing a new one at the schools, Murphy said crews will resurface synthetic tracks. The running tracks at Los Osos and Colony high schools were installed in 2002, when the schools opened.