Field Renovations to Inconvenience Athletes
August 30, 2018
In the coming school year, both Butler (Turf) Field and the surrounding track will undergo complete reconstructions. The official construction will begin in early October and is scheduled to be completed before the start of the spring sports season. As a result, the field has already been closed and fenced off, although the track will remain open until sometime at the end of October.
As part of a plan created two years ago, renovations of the track and field were originally slated to begin in November, at the end of the 2018 fall sports season and with no impact on fall athletics. The district decided to begin earlier, however, after field evaluations produced worrisome results. “I worked with the administration to do a field master plan. We did a study of every field in the district, took a look at what conditions they were in, and prioritized Butler Field,” said Director of Physical Education Ray Pappalardi.
In an email to Scarsdale parents, Assistant Superintendent for Business Stuart Mattey and Pappalardi explained factors that influenced their decision to speed up field work. They noted uneven surfaces, some of them quite large, areas of turf that were too old to be repaired and field conditions that worsened with rain.
Also outlined in the email was the renovation plan, calling for the “removal of the current turf field, followed by upgrades to the drainage system, installation of the new turf surfaces, and finally track replacement,” which includes a new layer of paint and the installation of a new rubberized surface.
In the process of sending out the projects for bids, Pappalardi noted some other possible renovations. Jumping events might be relocated to one of the d-zones—the areas in between the goalposts and the curve of the track. If this plan goes through, high, long and triple jump facilities will be improved. The pole vault area will remain unmoved. Finally, the throwing areas in the field could be moved around slightly. The bleachers, tennis courts and paddle tennis courts will remain untouched.
Scarsdale students not involved in extracurricular athletics should notice few effects on PE classes. Fortunately or unfortunately, outdoor classes will continue, with plans to relocate some activities temporarily to Dean Field.
Because Scarsdale offered use of its track to other schools in the past, Pappalardi is more worried about transportation logistics than alternate locations for practices and games. “We’ve been working with some local school districts; Eastchester and Edgemont have been helping us out with some turf time. We’re also looking at renting some off-site turf area at local colleges if we need that availability,” said Pappalardi.
Field hockey practices have been moved to the Middle School and Edgewood. Both teams, as well as girls’ soccer, have occasionally practiced on Edgemont’s turf field; however, the first of these practices was not ideal for either team, which could practice for only two hours and on half of the field. “At Edgemont, we can only do it when their teams aren’t practicing, sometimes from 5:30 in the morning or in… the hottest part of the day. On grass, the game is just so much slower and it’s not the same, so it’s been a little difficult for us,” said field hockey athlete Lena Glickman ’19.
Although many fall teams’ seasons have already been affected, the fates for some winter and spring season sports hinge on when the project finishes. “Six weeks is a very aggressive timeline for the turf field. Our hope is to get as much done as we can before the winter weather comes,” explained Pappalardi. However, construction timelines can be difficult to predict, and spring athletes and coaches should be prepared for the possibility that Butler Field and its track might not be ready in time for their sports season. “The worst case scenario is the [turf] field gets done and is ready for the spring season, then the track gets done in the summer,” stated Pappalardi. In the case that the track is incomplete, teams could also have to deal with the major inconvenience of increased travelling to practice locations for both winter and spring seasons.