Stang building turf field of dreams
That’s both the name of the ongoing stadium renovation project at Bishop Stang High School and the words Spartan sports fan can expect to hear more often as a result of the effort.
Installing artificial turf to replace grass is a major component of the $2.1 million project and will allow for increased use of the field for both year-round athletics and overall school and community use, said Jennifer Markey Golden, the school’s director of advancement.
The upgrade of the Hugh Carney Stadium, Stanley Stankiewicz baseball field, softball field, and the entire field complex will reconfigure access to the sports area. The work, which is being done by R.A.D. Sports in Rockland, will also add new seating, establish walking paths, and create a new, single-gated entryway.
The fields are scheduled to open by the end of October, Golden said. Work will continue into next summer to complete the installation of the remaining improvements but the games will be played as soon as possible, she said
“Everything is about getting these kids on that field,’’ she said.
Having a turf field will provide for fewer cancellations, Golden said, which can cause a domino effect of further schedule changes and inconvenience. Unlike grass fields, which need to be rotated, turf withstands the elements.
“You can use the field from morning to night,’’ Golden said. “You can use it in any weather. We can invite groups to use it, such as youth sports leagues, without being concerned about damage to the field.’’
Teams that play on the field include football, the girls and boys soccer teams, baseball and softball teams. The field hockey and lacrosse teams use the fields for evening games as well as post-season play.
The more solid surface also makes the field more accessible for non-sports events, such as graduations and outdoor Mass, she said.
“We’re really hopeful to be able to open it up for a little more use,’’ she said.
The ongoing work has created a season of away games this fall, she said, Soccer matches are played at Dartmouth Youth Soccer Association fields and at UMass Dartmouth while football is being played at New Bedford High School and Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School.
“It’s a little bit of short-term pain for a great amount of long-term gain,’’ she said, “This is going to make a big difference.’’
The fund-raising campaign has raised $1.6 million of the $2.1 million goal, with money raised from supporters, banks and foundations. The school is private and no public funds are used, she said.
These renovations will help “level the playing field,’’ according to a brochure about the campaign. All schools in their league and most local schools have or are building turf fields, according to the material.
More than 350 students practiced daily and/or competed on the fields in the fall of 2019.
“This project will allow our Spartan student-athletes to have a top-notch facility in which to compete,’’ said president/principal Peter Shaughnessy. “Athletics at Bishop Stang play a major role in educating the whole person, and this renovation will only strengthen that tradition.’’
For more information about the project and how to contribute, visit BishopStang.org/gameon or contact Golden at 508-996-5602 x430.