Students around Carbon County will see green when the Mountain View Elementary School students in Red Lodge start their year off, thanks to newly installed Playground Grass by ForeverLawn. The synthetic grass is so durable it will melt snow and remain green even during the winter months. Described as “safe to play on, soft to fall on, and cost effective” the grass encapsulates the latest technological advances including antimicrobial protection against harmful bacteria providing for a cleaner playground; it is also anti static and is inferred helping to keep the turf 10-15 degrees cooler than regular turf.
Installing the Playground Grass is ForeverLawn out of Idaho whose parent company is DuPont. Beneath the ‘grass’ is padding made of recycled insoles of tennis shoes that will provide up to 8-9 feet fall protection around climbing equipment. The ‘grass’ is multi-colored while the blades have a newly developed Memory Fiber™ within them. Lastly the ‘grass’ is recycled from old plastic bins from Yellowstone. Wyatt Sutley, field foreman, with Forever Lawn Idaho, said that the turf is tough and will last up to 15 years, saving on maintenance and watering costs. “In 8 years the grass pays for itself,” he said. The project cost over $50,000 and comes from the Red Lodge School Districts interlocal fund authorized by the 2011 legislature.
“The money put into this fund is generated from local taxpayers that can be used for specific purposes identified by the trustees,” said Mark Brajcich, Red Lodge School Superintendent. “The school trustees made the decision to move forward on this project based on safety for students (bumps and bruises), as well as practicality. The pea gravel created a huge mess both inside and outside the building. Last year the asphalt was overlaid but there was not enough money for this portion of the project, that is why we waited until this year to design and bid the project.”
Another safety feature of Playground Grass is it won’t burn. “It will melt, so acts as a good fire barrier,” said Sutley. “A fire will onely melt the area effected, there is no spreading. To replace the melted part, I go in, cut it out and place in a new piece.” The whole project is akin to laying carpet down in a home, with ForeverLawn using the same equipment along with various adhesives and Velcro. “It is a puzzle, finding the right piece for it, following the line,” said Sutley. “We’ve already had up to 20 kids running round on this, it makes the job worthwhile,” said a delighted Sutley. “It makes the teachers and kids happy, and that’s ultimately my goal.”