SCDSB showcases new turf field ahead of high school football championships

The Simcoe County District School Board showcased their first artificial turf field on Friday for the high school football district championships.

“This facility is amazing. Simcoe County has been dying for a facility like this,” said SCAA football convenor Keith Jackson.

Following the City of Orillia and Georgian College, the field at Maple Ridge Secondary School is the third of its kind in the county.

“When the opportunity came along with a new build such as this, we thought it was something that could really add to the experience for students and athletes,” said SCDSB Director of Education John Dance.

As more artificial grass surfaces pop up across Ontario, local outdoor sports facilities were becoming less attractive.

Upgrades like this one open the door to hosting more significant provincial events.

“I think we’re maybe a little behind the curve. It’s something that Simcoe County definitely needed. I think the opportunity just happened to be with the new school. Trying to retrofit some of the older facilities just wouldn’t be feasible,” said Jackson.

Questions have arisen as to why the state-of-the-art field would go to a school that doesn’t even have a football team. However, to the school board, it’s being viewed as a regional asset.

“This school was designed from the outset to have this track and field. So, any school that starts with programs comes along as the school develops. We anticipate that taking place at some point,” said Dance.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for the athletes who would be used to playing on muddy fields at this time of year. Today a team from Collingwood could be seen rushing to the field to test it out.”

“The boys were excited. Obviously, we wanted the game to be at home, but when we heard it was a turf field, we couldn’t wait to come here,” said Simon Ruzylo of Collingwood Collegiate Institute.

The new Maple Ridge school cost roughly $40 million to build. Five million of which went towards this new field and track. Something the school board considers a long-term investment.

“Sustainability is part of this because of the fact that we need to have something. Our fields take a beating in the fall, for example, and this field will stand up,” said Dance.

“This is the first of many events here. The field itself is lined for rugby, soccer, and any sport we have. This is going to be a championship field for sure,” added Jackson.

Dance says the school board will be looking to add more turf surfaces in future builds around the region, but nothing is confirmed.

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