Jeffco public schools break new ground with xtragrass

, CO– Artificial turf’s pioneering brand has teamed up with the nation’s premier sod farm to bring a groundbreaking innovation to Colorado’s largest school district. Lakewood Memorial Field is home to the country’s first ever installation of XtraGrass™, a hybrid playing surface that combines natural grass with synthetic turf technology. A collaborative effort between AstroTurf® and Graff’s Turf Farms, the cutting edge XtraGrass field was established at Jefferson County School Dictrict’s soccer stadium in Lakewood this summer, and the results have been fantastic.

Lakewood Memorial Field is one of JeffCo’s oldest stadiums, formerly the primary athletic venue for Lakewood High School. In its current incarnation as the district’s soccer stadium, it has become one of the most highly trafficked facilities with over 120 games played on it per year. The seed for this project was planted a few years back when the athletic administration noticed that the wear and tear on Lakewood’s natural grass surface was resulting in less than ideal playing conditions over the course of the school year. A February start to the spring season, when the ground was still frozen, didn’t help matters. The administration explored several options and crunched some numbers, but nothing quite fit as the ideal solution to the problem, until about a year ago.

Around that time AstroTurf was looking for a partner to help bring the innovative technology XtraGrass to the United States. They found a willing collaborator in Graff’s Turf Farms, one of the nation’s leading growers of sod for sport applications. Located in Fort Morgan, Colorado, Graff’s had a relationship with JeffCo and contacted them with a proposal for the field at Lakewood Memorial. Officials at JeffCo saw the potential, a deal was reached, and in June of this year the XtraGrass was installed and seeded. By the third week in August, the first ever games played on an XtraGrass field in the United States were taking place right here in the Denver area.

AstroTurf’s XtraGrass system is designed to incorporate the best of both worlds between natural and artificial turf. The hybrid technology preserves the look, feel, and playability of natural grass while boosting its resiliency and durability. The process begins with a manufactured artificial turf framework that includes a mat, organic infill, and synthetic turf fibers that are spaced widely apart. The grass is then seeded and grows between the artificial turf fibers, creating the finished fusion of organic and synthetic in a matter of weeks. The XtraGrass system can be fully grown at a sod farm and then installed; or it can be installed, seeded and grown on site, as was the case with the Lakewood Memorial project.

There are several XtraGrass pitches throughout the world, including stadiums in Europe, Asia and Africa. The hybrid fields have been especially popular in the realm of soccer, where sensitivity to field conditions is especially high. However the product has applications in all sports played on turf. And with a price tag that is significantly less than artificial turf, and no additional maintenance requirements than natural grass, the XtraGrass system is highly attractive.