San Juan school district shows off 2 new artificial turf athletic fields

ARDEN ARCADE, Calif. – Excitement around a home opener is always big in high school football, but this year, El Camino High School and Del Campo High School get to show off their new $3 million fields.

Normally hard-nosed football players were very eloquent as they described how they felt about their new field at El Camino.

"Beautiful, amazing," senior offensive lineman Austin Reynolds said as he looked across the field.

The Eagles christen their $3.1 million field Friday against Sacramento High School.

Down the road, Del Campo will show off its $3.6 million facility at the same time.

The cost is covered by bonds approved as part of Measure N, which voters approved in 2012. The funds are for technological and facilities upgrades in schools.

But in an abnormally dry year, another benefit has come to the forefront.

"It is going to be a huge savings in terms of water and the fact that we're facing a huge drought in California," Brett Wolfe, Del Campo's principal, said.

Combined, the two fields used 4.5 million gallons of water last year. This year, an estimated 600,000 gallons will be needed to wash and maintain the fields. That's an 87 percent drop in water use.

Every student at each schools will have a chance to use the new fields. Physical education programs are already using them.

"This place can be used for anything. We'll find ways and reasons to use it," El Camino Athletic Director and physical education teacher Cici Robinson said.

As for the football teams, for now, they're just focused on Friday night, and hoping the new turf will give them an advantage.

"[It's] a little faster. It feels like you're just on air, just speedy all the time," Reynolds said.


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