Michael Tarantino, director of maintenance and operations with Poway Unified School District in Poway, Calif., discusses strategies for designing and maintaining athletic fields.
Director, Maintenanceand Operations
Poway Unified School DistrictPoway, Calif.
How is the district reducing water use related to grounds maintenance?
We are using new spray heads, limiting natural grass, implementing proper plant selection, and incorporating centralized irrigation and proper horticultural practices, based on our irrigation restrictions.
What are the biggest challenges related to designing sports fields?
This process is still in the works at our district. If there is an area a school district can fail related to landscaping, this is it. Our trend will be to focus on a sports-field designer rather than a landscape architect.
What are the most significant maintenance requirements for athletic fields?
They are their own beast, with different requirements for each sport and each user group. The emphasis needs to be on safety first and aesthetics second.
What staffing challenges are you facing in maintaining both landscapes and athletic fields?
Finding qualified personnel. This is really difficult when dealing with sports fields. The on-site person needs to be able to evaluate the field for safety and aesthetics and make the proper calls to ensure the safety of the athletes.
grounds care, grounds management, turf maintenance, athletic fields, irrigation systems, water conservation, irrigation