Funding secured for new athletic turf fields

FCPS staff with CE Jan Gardner

L-R: FCPS Chief Operating Officer Paul Lebo, FCPS Board President Brad Young, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner

Four FCPS high schools will have new turf fields installed through the allocation of $10 million in additional school construction funding set aside for the specific projects.

The funding, made available through the Maryland General Assembly’s Built to Learn Act, will lead to the installation of turf athletic fields at Brunswick High, Catoctin High, Tuscarora High and Walkersville High. 

Once the four fields are upgraded, every high school in the county will have at least one turf field. Installation of the four turf fields will cost approximately $7.8 million. The remaining $2.2 million will be applied toward the completion of Thurmont Elementary School’s limited renovation project.

“This is wonderful news for our entire community,” FCPS Superintendent Dr. Cheryl L. Dyson said. “We’re appreciative of the consistent support from County Executive Jan Gardner for making these projects possible and ensuring we can continue to modernize our facilities.”

All turf field installation should be completed by the start of the 2023-24 school year. 

“All of our high school athletic and visual and performing arts programs will benefit from the new turf fields,” said Kevin Kendro, the FCPS Supervisor of Athletics & Extracurricular Activities. “The fields will be true community resources, and it is beneficial to have equitable facilities throughout our county.”

The Built to Learn Act, which was passed in 2020, sped up the collection of state funds for several school construction projects in Frederick County, including the new Waverley Elementary building that opened for students in August. Three additional projects were able to begin sooner than originally planned: Brunswick Elementary, which is scheduled to open for students in August 2023, and the new Valley Elementary and Green Valley Elementary school projects.

To qualify for pass-through grant funding, projects must be selected by the local county government. The State Interagency Commission on School Construction approved the grant project Thursday morning. The projects will come before the Board of Education of Frederick County for approval and the grants must be accepted by the county council. 

Athletic turf fields have many benefits, including long-term durability and less ongoing maintenance.