Marblehead All-Sports Foundation FAQ

Q. Why is the Marblehead All-Sports Foundation seeking to replace the natural grass surface at Piper Field with artificial turf?

There is significant cost involved in maintaining the natural grass field at the high school and limited usage – the field is only used for approximately 60 hours each season. This means only a handful of athletes are able to benefit from using the field. This represents severe under-utilization of the facility. An artificial turf field will dramatically increase the utilization, making the field almost always available. It is estimated that the artificial turf field will be used 2,500+ hours per year based on statistics provided by other area high schools.

Q. What is artificial turf? – Appendix A provides a more detailed Q&A on synthetic turf.

Artificial turf is a synthetic carpet-like surface consisting of man-made materials that are grass-like in appearance and function. The surface “blades” are interspersed with a soil-like base made of sand or rubber or a combination thereof that provide the stability and uniformity needed. When used on athletic fields, it provides a consistent playing surface built to withstand extended use without down time for recovery.

Q. Are these synthetic surfaces player friendly?

When artificial turf surfaces were introduced, there were many myths and perceptions about injuries. These perceptions have changed with the knowledge that injuries are usually sport specific and not related to the playing surface whether it be natural or synthetic.

Q. What are the real benefits of synthetic turf?

Benefits differ from activity to activity and also depend upon the quality and design specified. In general, synthetic fields are always ready for use. They hold up to frequent use, and require significantly less labor and maintenance expense.

Q. In addition to school programs, will the fields be available for community use?

When not in use for school programs, the fields will be available for community use. We anticipate frequent use by the town’s youth programs.

Q. How did the turf project come about?

This project is a response to the growing need for an all weather stadium surface that improves and expands facilities for athletic, musical and community activities. This significantly improves the usability for all of our teams and musical performers and builds on our community.

Q. Who is leading this effort?

A committee of volunteers has been formed that is comprised of members of the community, leaders of youth sports, and parents of current and past students. The organization is the non-profit Marblehead All-Sports Foundation (MASF), a non profit IRS approved 501(c)(3) organization.

Q. Has the School Board and the Parks & Recreation Department endorsed this project?

Yes. We have met with both organization and have gained their support. The Superintendent, School Committee, Town Business Manager, and Athletic Director, have helped lead the effort to determine the requirements of the field to ensure that all necessary requirements are addressed in the process.

Q. Are there any limitations on how often the field can be used?

No, all turf companies guarantee their product for 10+ years regardless of usage. This is one of the great advantages of synthetic turf. It is anticipated that the field can be used nearly year round, as many hours of the day as needed.

Q. Who will get to use the field and who will manage the priorities?

The school administration will manage the field and set the priorities. In general, high school activities take precedence, whether it is for athletic or musical events or practices. However, given the capability to use the field throughout the day and into the evening with lights, youth sports and other community activities will have access to the field.

Q. What is the financial goal of the project?

A goal of $1,300,000.00 dollars has been set for the initial project. This amount allows for a worst-case scenario given the uncertainties around required remediation of the underlying structure of the field.

Q.  Who will hire the contractor to build the field?

The Steering Committee will work in conjunction with Town officials and the design consultant to select a contractor. We have been advised by Marblehead Town officials that our process is not bound by any state mandated bid requirements.

Q.  Who will oversee the construction project?

We will form a project oversight committee comprised of experienced members of the community with relevant backgrounds. This model has worked well for projects like the construction of MHS and Village School. 

Q.  How long will the project take?

We expect the project will take around three months. The goal is that no disruption to Marblehead High School Sports will occur.

Q.  Where will funds come from for maintenance and who will maintain the field?

The youth and adult sports organizations in Marblehead have all committed to providing an annual contribution to the maintenance fund of $10 per member. This will cover the yearly maintenance costs for the field.

Q. Why isn’t the school district proposing a tax override for the project?

That has been tried and failed. The goal of this fund raising effort is to bring needed improvements to the community without additional tax dollars.

Q. Are naming rights available for the field?

The field itself will always be known as Piper Memorial Field. For interested parties, there is an opportunity for naming rights.

Q.  I’m interested in learning more, who should I contact?

Steve Maxwell // // 781.990.8685