Hillsborough County has first-rate athletic public school programs, many of which compete annually for state titles.
Trouble is, the facilities have not always matched the product on the field, at least when it came to their private school counterparts in the county.
But in the past three years, the public schools are catching up.
This offseason, seven schools – Bloomingdale, Chamberlain, Freedom, Gaither, Middleton, Plant and Plant City – had artificial turf fields installed. Plant’s turf, put in years ago, was replaced.
That brings the total of turf fields at public high schools in the county to 15. The plan is to have turf at all 28 public schools within the next few years, county athletic director Lanness Robinson said.
Those are not the only upgrades. Video scoreboards were added to every public school football field and to every high school and middle school gymnasium. Steinbrenner High already had a video scoreboard.
Last year, new scoreboards were also installed at all baseball and softball fields.
The turf and scoreboard projects were each funded by the school district. The move to install scoreboards was made after a decade-long district partnership with PepsiCo expired.
Here are the 15 Hillsborough County public schools that now have artificial turf fields.