Training fields

Resurfacing Begins at South Laredo High School Football Fields

Resurfacing has begun in South Laredo as high school athletic fields will soon include on-court turf in the coming months.

It’s a move that will likely save the district money in the long run because, according to fieldturf.com, the average upkeep of a natural grass pitch over 10 years is $200,000, compared to $50,000 for a field with fake grass.

Artificial turf also makes it possible to practice in all weather conditions and to use the facilities all year round. Field grass also does not need to be mowed, so the surface is always ready for use.

Lyndon B. Johnson High School has just begun the resurfacing process, as has United South. Panthers head football coach Joe Coss sees this not only as an investment in the schools, but also in their student-athletes.

“We invest in youth, man,” he said. “That’s really it. It is an investment in our youth. I sometimes say it in these terms when I talk to people about athletics, can you imagine that in the fall football in the South will have between 240 and 260 children. This obviously includes incoming freshmen.


“And you talk about maybe 40s, 60s, baseball and volleyball and other good bits of kids and obviously it adds up. The reason I say an investment is because, can you imagine all those kids without sports? Where are they going to be? Let’s talk football, 260 children, what are they going to do after school? What will happen if they are not guided when they come to a program like ours? This is what I mean by investment. The neighborhood invests in young people, that’s really how I see it. And the grass of the field, having something beautiful and obviously very expensive, I think it’s a complete investment.

The City of Laredo and Webb County have discussed resurfacing many fields in the area with sod due to the lack of maintenance required by the surface.

In 2019, District 1 Councilman Rudy Gonzalez Jr. revealed a plan to resurface the fields in Independence Park with artificial turf.

Other locations also have grass pitches, such as at Veterans Park and Uni-Trade Stadium. Much of what was left to resurface were the United ISD high school driving ranges. While LBJ and United South are currently the only ones to resurface, United and Alexander will follow soon after.

The tender for the job of resurfacing the fields was first put out in October. The resurfacing plan really kicked into high gear in February 2021 when UISD Superintendent Robert Santos brought to the school board’s attention at a special meeting that the fields – particularly in south Laredo – were in “urgent need of repair”.

They had irrigation problems and were in dire need of modernization. Although the plan to resurface the fields was not approved that day, it was shortly thereafter.

Part of the benefit of the change now also is that these schools will not switch from playing on natural glass to playing on artificial turf. While the change isn’t as drastic as the switch from natural grass to Astroturf that lined many pitches across the country in the 80s and 90s, there is still a difference.

Having the chance to practice as they play is a huge plus for these programs.

“You go from territory to territory,” Coach Coss said. “One of the most important things that I firmly believe is that you are ready for the game as far as your week goes. How prepared you are depends on a bunch of factors involved and obviously the playing field is one of them.

Although there is no exact end date for the conclusion of construction at LBJ and United South, coach Coss said he believes it should be done by the end of April – just in time. time for spring football or soon after.

United South are shooting for April 18 as their first day of spring football.

“The fields need a lot of work and obviously it’s a work in progress,” Coss said. “Our board member Rick Rodriguez, him and obviously our superintendent and our AD Bobby Cruz, they did a great job knowing the need was there and came to fruition.”

thomas.lott@lmtonline.com


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