High school football is big at Sweetwater High School.
People from the community love to come out to see the Red Devils play but just as football season is getting underway, the Sweetwater Union High School District closed the football field for safety reasons.
The turf installed in 2013 is wearing out, so the district is moving Sweetwater’s home games until the field can be fixed. Last Friday night’s home game was played at Hilltop High. Other home games will move too, until further notice.
“It’s a warranty issue, it is not going to cost the district anything,” said Manny Rubio, Director of Communications for the district.
Rubio said the original company that put in the turn is out of business.
The company that inherited the problem, Astro Turf, will honor the warranty and agrees with the district something more than patchwork needs to be done. Rubio said the district is working with the company to determine whether a full replacement will be needed, and if so, how long it will take.
“We always think the biggest impact is sports,” said Rubio. “But honestly, it impacts us day-to-day.”
Rubio said students cannot use the turf right now for physical education, and the community cannot use it for youth soccer and football.
On Monday night, one community member questioned the school board about why action was not taken sooner.
“It was known there were issues with our football field, it wasn’t something that showed up last week,” said Meg Garcia.
Rubio said there had been minor repairs to the field. He said the way the larger problem was brought to the district’s attention was that there was a scheduled repair to be done in September.
“One of the questions we had is, on turf not that old, why are there are so many issues going on? So we took a closer look,” he said.
Rubio said the district contacted Astro Turf and a representative was sent out to inspect the field, and the representative agreed with the district’s assessment.
Garcia asked the Board to be the “squeaky wheel,” to be “our voice” to get the field fixed sooner rather than later.