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Turf field renovation approved

Pictured+above+is+the+softball+field.+The+field+will+be+changed+with+the+tennis+courts+once+the+renovations+are+completed.
Pictured above is the softball field. The field will be changed with the tennis courts once the renovations are completed.

Pictured above is the softball field. The field will be changed with the tennis courts once the renovations are completed.

Pictured above is the softball field. The field will be changed with the tennis courts once the renovations are completed.

Jay Abdella and Caterina Tomassini

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The recent special town meeting at Wayland High School passed two warrants dedicated to financing the future renovations of the high school fields. The finances in question will be used towards creating the designs for the renovations. These renovations are expected to start in the summer of 2018 and continue into the 2018-2019 school year, and will end with a new turf field, new tennis courts, updated bleachers, lights and a new press box.

According to athletic director Heath Rollins, the first part of the renovations is expected to take place around the summer of 2018.

“In an ideal situation, July 1 we would start putting the shovel into the ground and start the construction over the summer. Whether that’s feasible, we’ll find out soon,” Rollins said. “In an ideal world, our facilities are at a point where they need to be repaired, and the time frame would be 3-4 months [to complete phase one]”.

The first phase of Wayland’s three-phase plan is to update the press box, lighting, entire turf field and the bleachers as they have been neglected. Some of those areas also fail several criteria for being compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act, which dictates that bleachers must be accessible for people with wheelchairs. As of now, there is no space, or means, for wheelchairs to access the bleachers easily or safely.

“Really, [the turf] has been neglected for a while, the bleachers are not ADA compliant, the field has outlived its useful life, and the track is in a state where we really can’t host competitive meets,” Rollins said.

Phase two involves switching the softball field, which is currently located at the entrance of the high school, with the tennis courts, currently located behind the school. The reasoning for this switch is the proximity of the tennis courts to the town drinking well. As of right now, the tennis courts are within distance to a town drinking well. Not only is this placement a violation of EPA law, but also makes it hard to maintain the courts as there is a risk of chemicals leeching into the town’s drinking water.

The construction for phase one and phase two are expected to be done by spring of the 2019 school year.  Phase one is expected to conflict with fall sport seasons, especially ones which involve the use of the track.

“There would be a lot of different things: practices, practice locations; we would be on grass fields more for practices, we’d probably use other fields in town,” Rollins said. “For games, we would end up playing a lot of away games in the beginning of the season, we would try to backload. We’d find sites that we could play, some sites locally that we could host some of our games.”

Rollins is optimistic about the long term effects of the renovations.

“We [will] get through it; it’s short term, it’s something that is needed so badly, so we will adapt and get through it,” Rollins said.

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Turf field renovation approved