While not getting a say over the entire project, the St. Louis Park City Council on Monday did approve a small part of the school board's plan to at the stadium.
By a 7-0 vote, council said "OK" to the import and export of more than 11,000 cubic yards of fill at the site. During this process, construction crews will dig up soil and replace it with sand, which will form the base of the new turf field.
This work will likely start in June, after high school graduation festivities are held at the stadium. Soil work will last until about mid-July, then installation of the new field is expected to go into August—wrapping up in time for the fall sports season.
“I think this is a great project,” councilwoman Anne Mavity said.
Athletic director Andy Ewald has said the new field is needed because a lack of space causes St. Louis Park teams to overuse and tear up the school's various grass fields—making them potentially unsafe for athletes.
That includes the high school's stadium field. Though it only gets used about 60 hours every year for football, soccer and lacrosse, as well as graduation, the grass can’t take the wear and tear of more events. A sturdier, synthetic field should see about 3,000 hours of use annually, Ewald projected, opening it up to more games and practices, as well as community events and potential usage from other local schools, such as .
Ewald also pointed to a competitive disadvantage for St. Louis Park teams, noting that nearby schools such as Hopkins, Minnetonka and Edina have at least one artificial turf field.
“For the St. Louis Park community, the thought of a synthetic field at the stadium is no longer a luxury,” Ewald said at a meeting last year. “It is a long-overdue necessity.”