WARREN, NJ - A resolution to accept a "not to exceed" $841,146 price for the turf field project was approved by the Watchung Hills Regional High School Board of Education at its last meeting.

Board member Peter Fallon gave an operations committee report and discussed the resolution to seek bids so the district can move forward without committing to an infill option.

Fallon recommended the board approve the resolution so the process could begin and the board discuss the turf field's infill.

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Up to 40 percent of the cost for the project, which includes installation of new synthetic turf, replacement of the concrete curb and track repairs will be covered by state aid and the sending districts approve the process by referendum in March.



The infill options being considered are:

Styrene Butadien Rubber (SBR), or crumb rubber, which is what the district has now,

Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE), which is made of plastic pellets, and organic, multi-layered cork. For more information, see http://Www.fieldturf.com

SBR infill has been linked to health issues while the other options have not, they are new to the industry, Fallon said.

“With these new options, it’s not just crumb rubber all the way to the top, it has other materials," said Fallon. "But we don’t know that it would give us any more health protection because there’s no data on it. It’s $40,000 extra for this option but really, with regard to all of these options, we don’t know if any of them are safer.”

But they are cooler for sure.

District architect Don Fiore, of Heintz & Fiore in Short Hills, answered questions about the infill options.

“None of these field options are technically going over any allowable threshold,” said Fiore. “The old rubber field usually feels softer but I tend to prefer the combination (organic) option because it’s a more stable field for all the sports you’d be using it for. It generally makes for a better playing surface.”

Fiore said while the warranties are typically the same for both options, and the more organic option is not advertised as better for health, the industry has been leaning towards the organic because it maintains a significantly cooler temperature because there isn't much black rubber.

“We’re not asking for a decision on this( infill) tonight but we realized there was a lot to this and people will want to discuss the options,” said Fallon. “I’d like to express our appreciation of Don Fiore, who has guided us and devoted a tremendous amount of time to come to our meetings and advise us.”