Football fields are melting at five Los Angeles Unified School District high schools.
A recent heat-wave that pounded Southern California would seem like a likely culprit in the melting synthetic turf. But not so, said district officials who are blaming the now hardened playing surfaces on defective materials that had they been effective would have withstood the sweltering heat.
Students have taken notice of the over-heated synthetic pellets, which make up the turf.
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"On my cleats, the turf would actually stay and when I would touch it, it would be hot," Stephanie Vasquez said, a senior at Diego Rivera high School.
The all-weather fields, which were installed in the last five years, were expected to last between eight and 10 years.
Mark Hovatter, the chief facility executive for LAUSD, said it will cost $300,000 to $800,000 per field to repair the damages.
Work has already begun at Woodland Hills El Camino Real, Fairfax and Sotomayor high schools to replace the fields. Football teams from those teams have had to move home games or switch them to road games.
"It certainly is inconvenient for them not to be able to play their home games, but no one is missing a game," Hovatter said.
Washington Prep is delaying replacement until after the season and Diego Rivera high plans to begin repairs in late September.
District officials said they are using new types of infill, which they hope will be heat resistant.
LAUSD is paying for the repairs up front in order to expedite the reconstruction process and plans to go after the vendors for reimbursement at a later date.