Scott, from our Sales & Marketing department, is guest blogging about his recent Tour-on-Wheels event with the MPSTMA.
Two weeks ago I joined the Minnesota Parks & Sports Turf Managers Association (MPSTMA) on their annual Tour-on-Wheels. The group travels around central Minnesota and visits various Parks and Sports Turf Facilities to hear about what products or issues their peers are tackling. The most recent “Tour” included a stop at Blaine High School, part of the Anoka-Hennepin School District. There Tom Redmond, Director of Grounds for the district, told us of his challenges.
First off let me tell you about the Anoka-Hennepin School District. It’s the largest in Minnesota, serving 40,000 students and 248,000 residents living in 13 communities in the suburbs north of Minneapolis and St. Paul. There are 5 high schools, 6 middle schools and 24 elementary schools. So as you can see and imagine there are a lot of grounds to manage and people to keep happy.
Blaine High School opened in 1970-71 and of the 5 high schools in the district sits on the smallest footprint. When it opened it easily could handle all of the sports the school had. There was no boy’s soccer, lacrosse and by the way there weren’t any girl’s high school sports as well as all of the sports camps and practices that utilize them.
The growth of all of these sports has created some interesting problems for Blaine High School, and I can imagine other high schools all over the country – Figuring out where to put all of these sports when no land is available and many of them are practicing and playing games all at the same time. Once you accomplish that goal there is another huge issue – How do you keep the playing surfaces (most times grass but an ever-growing sector of artificial surfaces) safe and playable with all the use.
These are just some of the issues Blaine faces. Many times games and practices overlap upon each other. In order to keep things in their place fences had to be put up and others had to be removed. Also, how do you keep grass growing or grow grass when fields are constantly being used and the growing seasons are your busiest times? They have gone to dormant seeding and higher mowing heights to get better results.
Walking on the Blaine High Schools Girls Fast Pitch Softball field
Tom Redmond explaining what caring for the Anoka-Hennepin School Districts fields entail.
This was quite an eye opener for me. I knew that all of the green grass folks had numerous issues with which to deal but I sure never thought about the extent. Especially what the addition of new sports does to the already small spaces some have to deal with. This “Tour” gave me a whole new appreciation of that groomed field I see in the neighborhood!