Galion athletics debuts new Turf Tank


A little gadget by the name of Turf Tank has made operations a lot simpler for the grounds crew at Galion City Schools this fall.

“I saw it at Ontario schools during their Fourth of July preparations,” said district maintenance worker Josh McKee. “It was painting lines in their parking lot at the school, and I sent a video to (Director of Building, Grounds & Transportation) Brian (Owens) kind of as a joke and said, ‘Hey, check this out.’ I had no idea at the time it would be something that we would actually be able to make happen for Galion.”

The “it” McKee is referencing is Turf Tank 2.

The original Turf Tank, now in its second model, was designed and marketed by a company from Denmark. It is a GPS guided robot machine that paints lines on fields in significantly less time, using much less product than what a person is capable of using with a walk-behind paint sprayer. Less time and less product adds up to a major cost savings for Galion City Schools.

“Once I started diving into it, it fell into place,” Owens said. “I contacted the sales rep., who is in Michigan, and he came down and did a demonstration for us on our upper practice field right behind the baseball field.

“That field usually takes two people 4 hours of work and 14 gallons of paint to complete. He did everything that we normally did and more which included some graphics, and he was done in only 45 minutes and used just two-and-a-half gallons of paint.”

Needless to say, the results of the demonstration had Owens very intrigued, so he started to do his own calculations on the matter. Based upon his figures, it takes approximately $14,500 in man-hours just to paint the seven fields Galion has to manage in a 12-week season.

“That’s 552 man-hours,” Owens said. “Turf Tank will knock that down by almost 75%. Then also, last year we spent just over $8,000 in paint alone. Part of our subscription for Turf Tank includes a years allotted paint included with the price.”

He then approached District Treasurer Charlene Parkinson about the possibility of Turf Tank.

“Charlene basically told me that if I could get somebody to fund it, I could go for it,” said Owens.

With that, Owens approached the Galion Booster Club who didn’t hesitate to jump in and fund the project in full for the 2023-2024 school year.

With Turf Tank 2 on board, the maintenance crew for Galion City Schools has significantly increased its productivity and availability within the district. Now, what used to require two employees only needs one for a short amount of time just to get the machine online and calibrated with the correct settings.

“I am able to get the painting started on the field and go on to other things here around the stadium that need to be done,” McKee said in talking about Turf Tank. “I can mow, work on the restrooms, clean in the bleachers, or anything that might need some attention. And it doesn’t take two of us here to accomplish it.”

The efficiency and time management is a win for the district.

“As a part of a public school, we are responsible for what we spend and do. It all figures together, and we have to make better time with the things that we have,” Owens said.

Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Hartmann is thankful for the Boosters Club involvement in making Turf Tank 2 a reality for Galion City Schools this year.

“The Galion Booster Club’s support for such an innovative project demonstrates its ongoing commitment to enhancing the sporting environment for our students,” said Hartmann. “Their ongoing support is imperative to our students’ experience. We look forward to utilizing the robot this fall!”

Erin Miller can be reached at 419-512-2662.

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