If all goes according to plan, Joel Barlow High School athletes will be competing on a new turf field in the fall.
Work has already started on the much-anticipated project to convert the high school’s grass field to turf, and to add a second turf field and construct a new parking lot.
“I’m very excited and extremely appreciative of the support that we’ve received from the community,” said Michael Santangeli, Barlow’s athletic director. “This is something that a few years ago was just a dream and now it’s become a reality. It’s almost surreal.”
Easton voters on May 2 approved a $4.5 million bond to upgrade to fields. The bond funds also includes the construction of a new Nest building to house code-compliant restrooms, team rooms and concessions.
The additional turf fields will allow practices for many student-athletes to be scheduled earlier, which means they can get home sooner. There will also be an increased opportunity to schedule youth sports for the Easton and Redding families as well, said Santangeli.
“We would be able to maximize the high school schedule and then offer more time to the youth as well, which would be a benefit to the entire community,” he said.
The overall benefit for families with children at the high school and younger athletes is that the additional turf field will facilitate a consistent practice and game schedule throughout the school year. Given the unpredictability of weather, these fields will allow Barlow teams and youth sports to start and finish their seasons on time and have fewer weather-related cancellations.
The fields will be constructed first, as state officials have granted approval for the turf installation. The parking lot intended to alleviate congestion near the old tennis courts and Cricklewood Road in Redding will be constructed later.
Santangeli said if the estimated three-month timeline holds true, the fields should be ready for use by late August.
“If this comes through, it will be remarkable,” said Santangeli. “To be able to have two turf fields for the start of the fall, as well as parking, would be a dream come true.”
ER9’s Facilities and Fields Committee is still awaiting more guidance from the state before they can start construction on the Nest building.