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Fairfax to convert more sports fields to synthetic turf

Saturday - 7/27/2013, 6:15pm  ET

WASHINGTON - There's a big demand for sports fields in Fairfax County and the school board thinks it has the solution.

Fairfax County already has more than 40 sports fields covered with turf. Now county officials are adding eight more at public schools. Annandale, Edison, Mount Vernon, South County, Stuart and West Potomac high schools plus Hayfield Secondary and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology will all be converted.

"We approved $1.5 million to help fund additional turf fields at those remaining schools," says Fairfax School Board member Ryan McElveen. "In addition, the county board of supervisors is expected to contribute $1.5 million to the same project."

McElveen sees turf as a positive for kids who want to play even if it has just rained.

"You know it's been also said that they are safer and result in less injuries," he says.

The fields, he says, have to be replaced about once a decade. But the county generates some income from the fields.

"The county has been able to fund the fields over the past decade by adding a user fee when they sign up to play football or soccer or a sport that would use those fields," McElveen says.

The new batch of fields brings the number of turf fields in Fairfax County to 67.

The county says synthetic fields can be used 62 percent more often because they can be played on year-round and in any weather. Plus there's no need to water and no fertilizers or pesticides are needed to maintain the fields.

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