As plans for flood mitigation have unfolded, the Board of Education raised questions about the best way to restore Hayes Field. Over the past year school officials, working with our architects KG&D have explored a number of options to gain more field space. With respect to Hayes Field the goal was to reconfigure the field so that it was suitable for lacrosse, field hockey, and soccer. At the same time it was important to maintain easy Elementary School access to the playground, preserve a kickball area, and expand parking.
The resulting plan, presented to the Board on October 16, calls for reconfiguring the direction of the field and installing artificial turf. Other features of the plan include a retaining wall, protective netting, a scoreboard, and portable bleachers. The artificial turf will provide a more durable playing and practice surface, giving the athletic department more scheduling flexibility.
Although the field project has been coordinated with flood mitigation plans, James Hudson, chair of the Board's facilities committee, pointed out that field expansion remains an independent need: the District would be advancing this kind of plan even if flood mitigation were not in the works. Recognizing that there are health and ecological controversies and questions regarding artificial turf, Hudson also stated that the Board would consider a number of options regarding infill materials and types of surface. Public comments included several questions about project details, including stormwater run off, location of the retaining wall, and aesthetics.