Too much misinformation being spread about football field

To the editor:

I normally don’t take to publicly sharing thoughts, but I can’t stand by and let inaccurate information be spread about our program and facilities. With that being said, I’d like to focus on your claims about the football field.

To begin, the football field was approximately 1/55th of the bond. Relative to other projects, it was one of the smallest costs. Choosing to lead with the field as your first example of “massive [costs]” seems to put a disproportionate amount of import on it.

Another problem that most people were not aware of is the cost to fix the field, but keep it grass. After talking with administration this fall, we got a rough estimate that if we were to fix the crown on the field but keep it grass, it would cost around half a million dollars. That was JUST for the game field, not even addressing the less-than-ideal practice field. After considering all of the costs, it was more fiscally efficient to push for turf.

Many people seem to want to compare grass to turf only on the game field, but with turf, we’re basically getting 2 fields in one. I mentioned that in the “slick public relations” video, but it apparently was ignored.

However, the most egregiously inaccurate claim you have casually made multiple times is that the field is used “only a few times each year.” That is simply wrong.

We use the field in the spring for workouts. We have a spring combine in 2 weeks. We have a 3-day overnight camp where we use the field. We have several other “mini-camps” that we hold on the field. We have a youth camp. We have an alumni game. We WOULD host passing camps throughout the summer if we had a usable facility (instead we drive to Hudsonville four times). There are rocket and middle school games that are played on the field. None of these even include high school summer workouts, practices, or games.

To suggest that the only time the field gets used is for the four or five varsity home games is, not to be rude, ignorant.

I would love to sit down with you and discuss these matters further in person, without the impersonal, easy-to-distance yourself medium of online forums to potentially skew any messages. And I promise I’m not trying to decry the work that you do – there is a lot of positive recognition that you bestow on the schools and the community. But if we’re going to use online forums to inform people, let’s use information rather than conjecture.

Mike Doupe, Wayland High School varsity football coach


  • Mr Doupe,
    As you recall the last bond issue that was approved we poured lots of dollars into the football stadium. The biggest problem we faced then was a crowned football field with poor drainage. The problem is still there! We have been the joke of other school systems for decades with regard to our crowned football field. So after the huge investment we made to the stadium, the school comes back once again asking for help. We need forward thinking folks making better decisions with the taxpayers money. Link below is a very interesting read.



    • If you’re looking for an argument about what should have been done in the past, you will not get one from me. But we’re dealing with an entirely new group of people. We have a new superintendent. We have a new AD. We have different board members. We have a different coaching staff.

      As far as cost goes, the article you present is fair. When I brought up the cost aspect, it was only to show that the alternative plan to replace with grass is not cheap either. So turf may be more expensive, but cost is not the only issue when it comes to a field. Imagine the outrage we’d receive if we told parents “We’re going to put your son in the cheapest helmet and pads we can find.” Safety and performance need to be weighed as well. There is a reason that every team in our league (except Wyoming) has a turf field.

  • I appreciate the objectivity you display by allowing me to share a different perspective. Hopefully people will participate in the surveys, meetings, and forums that the school will be having on this and other projects.

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