Four area public high schools are installing turf fields that will be ready to use this coming season.
In Hillsborough County, three schools — Hillsborough, Sickles and Sumner — are adding artificial playing surfaces for their stadiums that were all paid for by the county.
The field at Sumner, which opens this fall, wrapped up within the past few weeks. The placement of synthetic grass is in progress at Sickles. And the construction at Hillsborough should start this week.
Those schools will join Plant as the only public ones in the county that have artificial turf fields. Plant used private donations to fund a $650,000 field that was installed eight years ago.
Jesuit and Carrollwood Day are the two private schools in Hillsborough County that have turf fields on campus.
Tarpon Springs will start putting in its artificial field this month. The county is paying for it as part of a school-wide construction project.
St. Petersburg is the only other public school in Pinellas with a turf field. County athletic director Al Bennett said turf could be installed at Clearwater and Lakewood this coming school year and be ready to go for the fall of 2021 depending on budgets. The plan is to tie in artificial playing surfaces with construction projects already scheduled.
“We’re looking at ways we can do everything at once at a school,” Bennett said.
Calvary Christian and Clearwater Central Catholic are the two private schools in Pinellas County that have turf fields.
Hernando has started a fundraising project for an artificial playing surface. Pasco County athletic director Matt Wicks said there are currently no plans to install turf fields at any public school.