Tracy Samra, city chief administrative officer; Bill Bestwick, city councillor; Nanaimo school board chairman Steve Rae, Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay and John Blain, Nanaimo school district superintendent, toss sod Wednesday to officially kick off construction of a $3.6-million artificial turf field behind Nanaimo District Secondary School. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Ceremony turns sod for artificial turf field in Nanaimo

City, school district $3.6-million joint project estimated to get 3,000 hours of use per year

Nanaimo city and school board officials turned sod for a new artificial turf sports field Wednesday.

The ceremony was held on the sports field behind Nanaimo District Secondary School which will be dug up and replaced with the new surface, substructure for drainage, lighting and other amenities for an estimated cost of $3.6 million.

The field is a joint project between the city and Nanaimo school district.

“This one of the first times we’ve had a collaboration between the school board and the city of this magnitude,” said John Blain, school district superintendent.

The field will be used by NDSS sports programs and other sports user groups.

“There’s a couple of things that are exciting for me,” said Pete Sabo, school district director of planning and operations. “One of them is the size of the field. It’s CFL size so there’s so much surface area for the students to break into groups and have multi classes.”

Sabo said artificial turf and the extensive underground drainage will make the field usable year round.

“The majority of cost in an artificial turf field is in the sub-base because in our climate, it’s got to have the right drainage,” said Richard Harding, the city’s director of parks and recreation.

Work was scheduled to start after the ceremony Wednesday and be completed in October.

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