New Green Devil green to save greenbacks longterm

Andrew Green
An aerial view of the new turf installed at Green Devil stadium at Plaquemine High.

Plaquemine High School is the proud new owner of an AstroTurf football field, the first in Iberville Parish.  The project, spearheaded by former superintendent Edward Cancienne according to head PHS football coach Paul Distefano, has finally come to fruition for the parish and will be ready for the 2016-17 footballs season.

Something special about the near $700,000 project, according to Distefano, is it is not just for football.

“Soccer will be using it, St. John School will be using it.  JV and middle school teams will be using it,” Distefano said.  “It is open to the public to use, including P.E. and ROTC.”

Even during spring sports, said Distefano, when baseball and softball fields are too wet, the special turf will stay dry enough for practices.

“The biggest thing we’re excited about as coaches is that no matter what the weather conditions, we have a ready-made marked field that’s going to be dry no matter how much it rains.  That’s a big advantage from a coach’s perspective,” Distefano said.  “I think this will be an advantage because we are going to have better practices.

“I am more excited about Mondays through Thursdays than I am about Friday nights.  The benefits for this project are unlimited.”

Teams will no longer have to worry about standing water and flooding.

“From all indications the project has gone very well,” Iberville School Board President Polly Higdon said.  “We have been on budget with the project and we are really excited about it.  The maintenance will be at a minimum, which is a plus.

“We are looking forward to seeing our students enjoy playing on this turf.  It is all for the students.”

The project has been a longtime coming, according to head coach Distefano.

“This is not cutting edge technology,” he said.  “It is not like we are doing anything outside the box.  This is becoming the norm.  Other schools are on their second turf by now.”

Another benefit, Distefano added, is that the new turf does not have black crumb rubber, which studies have shown can contain cancer-causing carcinogens.  The new synthetic material, called “TPE”, used on the surface sits below the grass blades and remains 10-20 degrees cooler than other materials.

The project will be completed for kickoff of the 2016-17 football season.