By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – With six weeks to go, the campaign for new athletic fields at Shrewsbury High School is closing in on the $1.8 million needed to proceed with the project. Once this amount is raised, the School Department will to be able to go out to bid to be ready for fall of 2018. Otherwise, the project will need to wait until next year.
“We have just over $1.1 million already raised,” shared Michelle Biscotti, who coordinates development and volunteer activities with Kathleen Keohane. They are very pleased with the progress that has been made thus far.
Approved in November 2016, the project entails the installation of a new artificial turf field and replacing the surrounding track. The total cost is $2.2 million and $285,000 is already allocated to refinish the track. $1.8 million needed to be raised privately.
Roughly $650,000 is still outstanding. In addition to the track and turf feild, the scope of the project includes new drainage, new fencing, a new scoreboard and some minor cosmetic work.
“The field and track are original to the school,” explained Biscotti. “We haven’t re-sodded the fields and we haven’t redone the track so these facilities have seen 15 years or so of use.”
“Not to mention an increasing number of kids using the fields every year,” added Keohane. “Nothing has been done except fertilize and re-seed the field since 2002.”
The track has been in need of replacement for at least three years.
According to the website, www.turf4shrewsbury.org, “a synthetic turf surface at Shrewsbury High School is the only solution that offers our students, athletes and community what is needed most in a playing surface.” It will provide all-season, all-weather access, durability, multi-sport playability and high impact safety.
“The biggest reason we need the field to change to artificial is because the teams aren’t able to take advantage of that field for the number of teams and kids that need to use it,” Keohane further stated.
The field can only be used about eight weeks out of the year due to the need to repair or reseed the grass. Spring and winter sports are at a disadvantage, and there are missed revenue opportunities such as not being able to hold summer camps. There are also the costs of outsourcing teams to other fields because Shrewsbury fields are either unavailable or unusable.
The new field will be made with Envirofill, an acrylic coated sand. Its benefits include providing athletes support; not sticking to athlete’s skin or clothing; and maintaining a cooler surface. It is also environmentally friendly with greater longevity and a 16-year warranty.
Keohane and Biscotti are planning an informal fundraising event Saturday, Feb. 3, at the SAC Park in Shrewsbury. There will be cash bar, appetizers, a raffle and music performed by Tim Pitney & Friends. Tickets are $25 per person.
Donations can still be made and there are bricks available for purchase in support of the project. For information, visit, www.turf4shrewsbury.org.