Kennison at forefront of safety

This undated photo shows the Kennison Field turf and grandstand at Hermiston High School, which was unveiled by the Hermiston School District on Aug. 23, 2013.

HERMISTON — Hermiston High School’s Kennison Field turns 6 years old this month, but recent testing showed that the playing surface is in pristine condition.

Buzz Turf Synthetic Turf Testing of Boise performed the annual test on the facility’s synthetic turf last month, with the report reflecting continual good maintenance since its installation in 2013.

“Our turf being in such good shape shows our school district made the right choice by buying quality turf and hiring the company that we went through,” Hermiston athletic director Larry Usher said.

All is good news with the fall sports season getting under way later this month.

Football practice begins Aug. 21, while girls soccer starts Aug. 26.

According the report, the field was tested in designated areas to measure shock attenuation. Testers use what’s called a G-max test to measure impact on the field. The higher the G-max score, the less impact the field is absorbing.

The results help determine if there are any areas of concern, and if repair or replacement is required.

G-max tests must be below 165 to be considered safe. Kennison Field passed with flying colors, testing out between 103 and 125.

“We make sure our field is safe in a time of heightened awareness of injuries,” Usher said. “Our field is as safe as it can be. It graded out as a new field.”

The company also distributed crumb rubber fill in the areas that needed it to make the field cohesive. The turf is supported by thousands of pounds of pulverized rubber, which plays a part in the safety of the field.

The inspection included a magnetic sweep of the field, which removed items such as bobby pins, safety pins and track spikes.

The surface also was cleaned and sanitized.

“People wonder why we do that when it looks clean,” Usher said. “There is vomit and people bleed on it. You can get staph infections from the turf. This helps prevent that.”

There also was some concern from community members about the integrity of the field surface after the Hermiston School District maintenance staff cleared more than a foot of snow off the field in mid-March. The testing showed no damage.

“The scores are indicative of the work done by our grounds crew,” facilities supervisor Martie McQuain said in school press release. “Monthly sweeps of the field have proven to be a diligent method to keep the field in good condition. Our coaching staff, community members and visiting teams have also helped maintain our field in good condition by keeping food and drinks (except for water) off the field.”

The Bulldogs open their football season Sept. 6 at Pasco. Their first home game is Sept. 13 against Richland.

The girls soccer team opens its season Sept. 7 with a home match against Kamiakin.

Kennison Field also is used for track, lacrosse and community events. It also served as a practice facility in May for the softball team so it could get used to playing on an artificial surface that is used at the 3A state tournament.

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