The football teams at Clark, Rancho and Valley high schools learned this week that all of their home games and practices for the upcoming season would be moved.
The turf fields at each school’s stadium — a luxury when they were installed in the early 2000s because those were the lone turf fields in town — were deemed unsafe from wear and tear by the Clark County School District. That means practices will be shifted to schools’ baseball fields or a public park, and all games will be contested at their opponents’ stadiums.
The district is eyeing having new turf installed by the end of the 2019-20 school year, said Pam Sloan, CCSD’s director of student athletics and activities.
“It presents a different set of challenges,” said Rickey Pickens, the Clark coach. “But the kids’ safety is first. At the end of the day, if the test says the field is unsafe, we don’t want to risk injury to the kids.”
All three schools struggle with participation numbers and fan interest. Each also struggles to win, having suffered through multiple-year losing streaks over the past decade.
“It’s definitely an unfortunate situation,” Valley coach Quincy Burts said. “It’s another obstacle to get through.”
Losing a home game is more than a chance for players to compete in front of family and friends. There’s also revenue through ticket and concession sales, which is vitally important for the inner city schools already struggling with providing the basics.
“It’s a disaster,” Pickens said.
Burts said the process to replace the field would be about 10 months. Officials hope to begin the process in November, Sloan said. The cost to replace the turf could be upward of $500,000, according to online estimates.
Arbor View and Boulder City are the other CCSD schools with turf fields. Arbor View’s is the next oldest, having been installed in 2005 when the school opened. Boulder City’s field debuted in 2018.