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Iowa City Schools City High Multi-Purpose Field Reconstruction


With an enrollment of more than 1,500 students, City High School’s two practice fields were overused, supporting daily activities ranging from PE class and marching band to football and soccer practice. Because there was constant traffic on the fields, the natural grass never had a chance to rest and recover long enough to grow back. As a result, the fields were constantly in poor condition – often wet and muddy. It was important to City High School to maintain the integrity of the school’s existing competition football field, but soccer practice sometimes had to be held there due to poor practice field conditions.


With limited practice space and no room to grow on campus, City High School needed to replace one of its two existing natural-grass playing surfaces with synthetic turf – all within a limited budget and a short timeframe so the athletic teams weren't lacking for space to practice.

Shive-Hattery prepared concept plans and construction drawings, facilitated project bidding, and provided construction services and staking for City High School’s multi-purpose field.

With limited real estate available, and respecting City High School’s tight budget, a $780,000 synthetic turf field was designed to be used for football and soccer practice, as well as PE classes, year-round without worry about maintenance or time to recover from damage. A slit-film carpet was chosen for its fiber durability. This type of synthetic turf is cut into thin strips, then slit with razors to create multiple strands. After installation, the fibers separate to capture and absorb infill, ultimately reducing splash on the field.

This project was completed in a shortened timespan of 10 weeks to get students back out on the field as quickly as possible.


By updating one of its practice fields to synthetic turf, City High School no longer has to worry about wet, muddy, or torn-up fields that interrupt or cancel practice. The school can now host competition soccer, returning the competition football field to what it was originally designed for: strictly competition football.

Installing a synthetic turf practice field also helped the high school reduce maintenance expenses associated with mowing, re-sodding, watering and fertilizing natural grass.

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