Updated March 7, 2008 at 8:33 a.m.
Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs School Board President Robin Crossan is worried that promises made to parents and students about the artificial turf field installed at Steamboat Springs High School are not being fulfilled.
Private donors and the Education Fund Board, which administers the city's half-cent sales tax for education, raised about $500,000 for the field, which was installed in the summer of 2006. Proponents of the all-weather playing surface vowed that students wouldn't have to travel away from Steamboat Springs to practice and that Gardner Field would be able to host early-season games. But Wednesday, the high school's girls soccer team was forced to postpone their first home game of the season due to a snowed-over field.
"One thing we were promised wouldn't happen if we put this field in was that the kids would have to travel as much or cancel home games," said Crossan, who also serves on the Fund Board.
She said as a member of the Fund Board's Capital Commission, which recommended contributing to the turf field project, she recalls language that promised the purchase of snow removal equipment.
"I want to know where all that money went for that purchase," she said.
Interim Superintendent Sandra Smyser said Thursday that she is examining past School Board minutes to see if there were any provisions for snow-removal equipment when money was gifted from the Fund Board.
High School Principal Mike Knezevich, who spearheaded the turf field project, said there was no promise to purchase snow removal machines. He noted that former School Board member Pat Gleason had planning arrangements with Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. slope maintenance officials to donate the use of a grooming machine and driver to clear the field at the beginning of the spring season.
"We don't have a magic ball to predict when will be the best time to plow. We could have plowed Feb. 18, but it could have snowed an additional two feet since then," said Knezevich, who noted it takes up to three days for Ski Corp. workers to remove the snow.
"The only other option is that after every storm you go out and do the field," he said. "That is not realistic. We don't have the manpower or the finances to do that."
Rob Bohlmann, the high school's soccer coach, said parents should not expect that all spring games will be played during a winter season that's seen more than 400 inches of snow.
"Just because we got turf, doesn't mean we are going to be outdoors Feb. 25, or whenever spring sports start," he said. "Any day we can get out in March is good. : We will be out there in the next week."