The decision on the field surface at Northcutt Stadium, where the Marietta High School Blue Devils play their home games, must follow the same decision making process we take on other critical aspects of the stadium renovation, and balance current and future benefits to the school system and larger community. For this project these include the lighting, sound system, seating, locker rooms, concessions, parking and other areas that directly contribute to the future success and viability of this venue for Marietta City.
The architect and contractor will be utilizing modern materials and technology with clear objectives to both continue preserving the rich tradition of Friday night games at Northcutt, while improving the overall experience for the players, students, and fans for years to come.
In this process many factors need to be evaluated, and they should consider utility, performance, economics, and yes, historic integrity. All things being equal, it would be reasonable to conclude if natural grass and turf were equivalent on all critical aspects, grass should be the clear choice.
However, in this instance they are not. The new generation of synthetic turf products demonstrates clear advantages in the areas of costs of ownership, utility and wear, lower maintenance, durability and even aesthetics. The field surface is consistent event-to-event, can be played on year-round in all weather and looks as good in January as it does in August. Its ability to increase the usability of the field for other school and community events is a big advantage, and as our football and other field programs expand, we will only benefit from having a field that can accommodate this increased and diverse utilization.
Our Marietta coaches favor turf, the financial analysis favors turf, and the athletic directors in our neighboring school systems favor turf after having done their own analysis. While there are still some grass fields being installed, synthetic turf is now the field of choice for new construction and renovations at high schools nationwide.
Tradition should be commemorated in the legacy of the articulated stone wall, plaques, the bell, those great individuals that first built Northcutt, and all the athletes who played there. We are a school system that has prided itself on our rich history, but also in realizing when change is necessary, and then consciously taking the decision that benefits our stakeholders in the near and long term.
Turf will not destroy that legacy, but rather build on the tradition of a city that celebrates its past as well as its future.
Marietta City Schools Board of Education