FARGO -- A donation from anonymous donors of $1.2 million will bring field turf to Fargo South High School.
"It really allows you to program your outdoor field like a gymnasium," director of student activities for Fargo Public Schools Todd Olson said. "There is no limit to the amount of time you can spend on it, whether it's athletic teams or physical education. It opens up a lot of opportunities at South High and really throughout the district."
Olson said the donors donated the money for the purpose of turf for South and they wished to remain anonymous. Installation of the turf field will happen this summer and early fall, meaning some football and soccer games could be played on it in 2018 if things stay on schedule. Olson is hoping the project is done sometime in the middle or late September.
"We will have to move some of our football and soccer games to alternative sites," Olson said. "It's just like any other construction project. You have an idea when it will be done, but we don't specifically know that it'll be done."
Fargo South football coach Tyler Kosel played football for Valley City State before and after turf.
“We would go all year playing on grass, and by the time you got to October those fields turned to concrete,” Kosel said. “When we practiced on the turf you felt pretty fresh as the year went on. You’re not going to tear up your knee on the turf, and it won’t tear up if it’s raining. It’s a nice surface.”
Kosel remembered the excitement as a player when Valley City State put in turf.
“We were very excited,” Kosel said. “At the time, there wasn’t many people in our conference who had turf. It was a lot of fun to break it in.”
He’s feeling that same excitement at South.
“There’s going to be a big buzz with it, having a nice turf field, lines constantly painted for you, it brings a lot of excitement to the program,” Kosel said.
Football and soccer are generally the first things that come to mind when a school gets field turf, but Kosel was quick to state there’s more to it.
“Obviously, this last spring was an ugly one for spring sports,” Kosel said. “Softball teams can now play out there and baseball teams can get some time on the turf. It’s also big for physical education classes. It’s going to help our school in general. We’re very excited and trying to get the ball rolling and get on there.”
Olson feels it’s only a matter of time before all area schools end up with turf.
"I think eventually that's going to be where most or all of our fields are going," Olson said. "I think that's the wave of the future."