Durham Public Schools is refining a proposed school bond for the November 2016 ballot. The latest draft allocates a small portion of the proposed $180 million to field improvements, possibly installing controversial tire crumb rubber synthetic turf upgrades at high school athletic fields.
Durham County commissioners must approve the bond.
“I will admit that I did not know that used tires were a component of the materials used,” said Durham Commissioner Ellen Reckhow. “I think the prudent thing to do would be to wait till the joint study by the US EPA, Center for Disease Control and Consumer Product Safety Commission is complete before proposing any renovation of existing fields. We may want to wait before committing to this material until the questions are answered.”
DPS Deputy Superintendent for Operations Hugh Osteen agrees: “We are reviewing studies and research on the crumb rubber material. Our team is looking at that exact issue right now. If it is cleared of concern, then we would consider its use. If it is proven to be a hazard, we will avoid it, of course, certainly. We will be very thorough. I hope we have a conclusion asap.”