YARMOUTH—With less than four weeks to go until the election, the Yarmouth athletic department is hopeful that a bond to replace the aging turf field at the high school complex will pass.
The ballot Nov. 6 will include a $1.5 million bond for field renovations to replace the existing carpet (first installed in 2001), add an underlying pad, repair and improve field drainage, respray and restripe the existing track and add new ball netting, as well as add a new game management box and ramp.
Yarmouth High School athletic director Susan Robbins said that the time has come for replacement and that further delay could lead to unsafe conditions.
“(The field is) past its wear,” Robbins said. “It still meets safety requirements, but now it’s time to get something new. It can get worse with all the use it gets. It would be the equivalent of having three fields with the amount of use it gets. We’ve used it so much that it’s literally worn down. We definitely got our wear. They only guarantee turf for eight years now. This is at 12. What we’re going to get is better technology than this. We’re putting a pad under it next time to keep it as level as possible.”
While the Yarmouth football, field hockey, soccer and lacrosse squads are the most high profile users of the field, Robbins stressed the whole community, from youngsters taking part in camps, to adults partaking in physical education classes to senior citizens using the track for walking, benefit from its existence and replacement.
“It’s a community field and it’s served the community well,” Robbins said. “There are a lot of different users.”
It’s not just Yarmouth High that has used the field over the years. Neighboring schools who don’t have turf have often rescheduled games (in the case of Freeport field hockey a year ago, a playoff contest) at the site.
Robbins said that if the bond doesn’t pass, field availability for other schools will be a casualty.
“If it doesn’t pass, we’d have to limit the time people are on it,” Robbins said. “It would strictly be a game field and frankly, we’d have to say no to other schools who wanted to use it. Over the years, we’ve been very generous with that, but we’d have to do a 180.”
Originally, the hope was to add a new concessions building, restrooms, equipment storage, new lights and new bleachers as well, but to keep the project as affordable as possible in challenging economic times and with another bond to renovate the Public Works garage on the ballot, this bond focuses on the field with those other amenities taking a backseat.
“The biggest selling point from my perspective is when you have a turf field, the maintenance costs are far less,” Robbins said. “If we replace this with a regular grass field, you’re talking sodding costs, irrigation.”
In the end, it will come down to Yarmouth voters. Robbins and the rest of the athletic department are hopeful.
“I think it looks pretty good,” Robbins said. “I think people support the school system.”