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Synthetic Turf
The installation of synthetic turf at the fitness center athletic field on Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, was completed July 18, 2012. The improvement will save thousands of dollars and hundreds of man hours of upkeep, as well as more than a hundred thousand gallons of water. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Roy Lynch)
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Gunfighters go green with turf installation

Posted 8/1/2012   Updated 8/1/2012 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Roy Lynch
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

8/1/2012 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Synthetic turf was recently installed at the fitness center's athletic field, ultimately saving the base 145,000 gallons of water and thousands of dollars per year.

According to Richard A. Holmes, 366th Force Support Squadron fitness center director, the upgrade was necessary because it was hard to keep grass growing on the field due to the high amount of use by the community.

The new turf is an inch-and-a-half of plastic grass which is then packed with small rubber pellets, making it a flat surface. The field can be used year-round, allowing another location for squadron physical conditioning.

"This is a true playing surface that is low-impact on ankles and knees," said Holmes.

Additionally, more than 300 man-hours will be saved on maintenance.

"Prior to the field, I would have to cut and chalk the lines," said Holmes. "Now I just need to put the markers out and the field is ready to play on. We will sweep the field once every couple of months after the initial maintenance, and we have extra turf and 5,000 pounds of pellets if something were to rip or wear down."

The three-month undertaking started May 1, but finished two-and-a-half weeks early on July 18.

The athletic surface is more durable, expected to endure the elements and last more than seven years, according to Holmes.

Although the field will be 5 to 15 degrees warmer than a traditional field, frequent field patron Grant McCormick doesn't mind.

"The field is a lot better than before," said McCormick. "We now have a flat surface where a variety of sports can be played without the concern for rolling an ankle."

Of note, smoking or using tobacco products is unauthorized on the field and sport drinks and carbonated beverages will need to have caps on when not in use.

To use or reserve the field, unit fitness program managers must contact the fitness center 24 hours prior to the event at (208) 828-2381.

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