The program last Wednesday was presented by Steve Caraway, owner of Texas Multi-Chem, which installs, renovates and maintains athletic fields. Steve grew up in San Angelo, where he played baseball and developed a love of athletics, and eventually turned that passion into a business. The initial business started by selling industrial chemicals and fertilizers for athletic fields, and evolved into the construction and maintenance side after volunteering to build some fields for the Kerrville Little League program.
Texas Multi-Chem has 28 employees now and three offices which cover a large area of Texas. They have built or renovated hundreds of fields, including the Tivy High School baseball field. The trend in sports has been moving towards synthetic turf, with numerous schools trying to keep up with their competition. However, Steve's studies have shown that over the life of the field, natural turf is is still less expensive. Although the natural turf fields are their specialties, Texas Multi-Chem does offer maintenance programs for synthetic fields, because contrary to popular belief, they are not maintenance free. These fields do need periodic deep cleaning and disinfecting to remove bacteria and fungus that can grow from a variety of sources, including animal and bird droppings.
A big factor in choosing synthetic versus natural turf is the amount of use an athletic field receives. Natural grass does need to recover between uses, so if a field is to be used for multiple teams, bands or public use, then a synthetic field may be the best choice. Other factors include the use or availability of water in drought prone areas, and the maintenance and quality control capabilities of school districts.