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What we think: Bill for turf issue may well be ours

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The problematic turf won't be used at all by this year's seniors.

The turf malfunction that has rendered unusable the athletic field at sparkling new Collins High School sadly will cost this year’s senior class access to the facility.

The senior football players and soccer players long ago lost their home edge and crowds, and now the track & field athletes have as well.

Sadly, the great Caterina Karas, perhaps the most accomplished female athlete in Shelby County’s history, won’t be able to run a competitive lap on her home track.

We understand the field may not even be ready in time for the next wave of fall sports.

We suffer this not only for the kids but also for the taxpayers, for it is we who likely will pay the bill for the nearly quarter-million-dollar refurbishment of the base for the turf and the way-too-permeable layer itself.

School officials are doing all they can do, we believe, all any property owner could do in the face of shoddy work: They are trying to get the work done and have the offending party pay for it.

The problem here is that we are not talking about poorly installed windows or floors. We’re talking about a six-figure debt that has to be absorbed by a contractor or subcontractor whose till is likely not nearly that full.

The school board voted Thursday night to extend the cash, and Superintendent James Neihof assures that it will pursue mediation and litigation to recoup that cost.

But our feeling is that no matter what courts may rule months or even years from now, the district won’t see much of anything in the form of reimbursement.

Wittenberg Construction, the general contractor for the project, has been, in our view, most interested in concluding this problem and had been working on a schedule to do so by the end of this month, but that company is not going to pay a bill for a project it hired someone else to do.

And, right now, all we have on the north side of Collins’ campus is piles of dirt, piles of rolled up turf and piles of cash being required to address them.

No, in our estimation, the likelihood of anyone other than taxpayers funding that repair are exactly the same as seeing Ms. Karas run a bell lap in Titan Stadium.

It’s a non-starter, we fear.