The loud cheer that rang out Thursday was from high school football and soccer fans in south Fargo after the announcement from Fargo South High School that an anonymous donor had donated 1.2 million dollars to the school to provide artificial turf to the football and soccer fields.
For too long Fargo and West Fargo have dealt with difficult playing surfaces, it got so bad in West Fargo that Sheyenne High School accelerated building its football stadium after the first year of the teams sharing the Packers home in 2014. If anyone has been to a football game in the metro in October you can see the wear and tear on the fields at South, North and Davies from sub-varsity games played there before you get to Friday. The quality of the games was likely affected and just from a superficial aspect, it was impossible to see the yard lines by the time you get to October.
This should be the trigger to make sure turf comes to the rest of the schools in Fargo. Taxpayers may have a hard time signing off on a bond that would have their taxes go up, but the benefits would outweigh the costs. This past spring, no metro teams outside of Shanley could play any games (the Deacons have had turf at Sid Cichy Stadium since 2009) because of a brutally cold and wet spring. North, South and Davies all had multiple soccer and softball games postponed because there wasn’t time to make them up. This problem would be solved with a turf field. The athletes that play spring sports wouldn’t be hosed with a short season because of terrible weather.
It turns out Fargo is woefully falling behind on this front. Bismarck, Williston, Mandan and Watford City all have turf for different sports and got a massive head start this spring compared to their counterparts from the east. Casselton now has the palace on the prairie with a brand new turf softball field that hosted several teams this year for not just tournament games, but regular season games. The school is also getting a brand new turf football field and eight lane track thanks to some large donations. Central Cass will arguably have one of the finest athletic facilities in North Dakota when it’s done. Valley City isn’t that far behind, the school is renovating legendary Hanna Field, with hopes of getting turf for its football field.
The old rumor I had heard was that if one Fargo school can turf, they all had to get turf. Let’s hope this donation to South is the jumpstart needed for the rest of the schools to jump on board. West Fargo has its bond referendum vote coming in September to add three turf fields (West Fargo, Sheyenne and the new high school). Any Packer and Mustang fans know this should be a slam dunk after what they’ve seen happen at their fields the last couple of years.
It’s time for turf Fargo. Make it happen.