The proposed installation of a new artificial athletic turf at Jerry Brewer Alumni Stadium in Jasper has been put on hold pending review of bids and other issues in regards to the project.
Last night bids were looked at in an open public discussion with the Greater Jasper Consolidation School Board. Corporation Clerk of Works, Scott Stenftenagel, stated at last nights gathering that he was pleased with the bids regarding the turf project and then asked the Board of Education members for direction on how to proceed.
Greater Jasper Superintendent, Dr. Tracy Lorey, indicated that she would like to advise the board to wait before deciding on a bid due to studies currently underway. She says this way if the board holds on their decision, there can be a clearer determination on whether there are any hazardous components in artificial turf material being tested.
With Dr. Loreyís advice and comments from other board members, Board President- Nancy Habig, welcomed those sitting in the public to share any input on whether to decide on a bid at last night’s meeting.
Phil Seger, on behalf of a committee working to address the turf issue addressed the board by saying that the “risk out ways the reward” and that it was best not to decide on any bids till they see results from turf material tests conducted.
Seger is part of a committee of concerned community members and school officials, a member of the youth football league, facility manager, a school board member, and Dr. Lorey herself who took it upon themselves to study the crumb rubber infill and design of the artificial turf surface.
Dr. Lorey explains the potential results that can come from the decision the board took after hearing from the public and discussion among themselves.
Dr. Lorey also noted that the committee was ready to make a recommendation to the board regarding bids received but had found out over the weekend that the Environmental Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control were going to conduct a study over the use of crumb rubber as infill and if it’s safe.
Board Secretary, Ken Schnaus says it would be in the best interest of all involved to have the board take a closer look at the pros and cons before a final decision is rendered.
Schnaus also added that there are questions of the types of infill thatí’ placed inside the grass structure of the turf and has said that they have seen several reports saying there are potential health risks with the infill and others that show no risks at all. There was a bid that offered to remove infill if the EPA would come back with negative results of which Schnaus wanted the board to also consider before making a decision.
The board has 60 days from the date the bids are received which was February 10th to make a decision on the bids proposed.