Just to bring the New Year in early and divert us from this day’s glad tidings, the Mick has brought to our attention that Greenwich is moving toward ripping out the carpets on the high school’s athletic fields and replacing them with a new form of artificial turf that they hope will be less toxic, although the existing rubber composite fields have never been shown to be so – it’s the stuff underneath the carpet that’s poisonous, and that would, for now, remain in place. They’ve committed $850,000 to this endeavor, but as Mickster asks, “What’s the chance they test the old sod and they find crap and it ends up costing $5 million?” Other than the laughable idea that the new fields will end up costing just $5 million, he’s got a good point.
As part of the capital budget they approved this week for the next school year, the Board of Education endorsed a $40,000 “feasibility” study for consultants to identify potential improvements to the stadium.
The stadium is a Greenwich institution that attracts thousands to big events like football games and graduation ceremonies. But many who use the four-decade-old facility say it lacks basic amenities and needs to be spruced up.
What do these people think the term “spruced up” means? To quote “Princess Bride”, I don’t that word means what they think it means.
Among its limitations, the stadium lacks a building where teams can gather before games and during halftime breaks. At the moment, players and coaches either have to stay out on the field or trek between the field and the locker rooms in the high school’s main building. The same routine goes for trainers, since there is no treatment room at the stadium.
“Obviously, that’s not an ideal situation,” said Gus Lindine, the high school’s athletic director. “Giving teams a place to gather prior to games and during the halftimes of games would certainly be something that would benefit us.”
There are also drawbacks for spectators. Many Cardinals fans lament the lack of permanent bathrooms. Visitors have to settle for portable toilets — with long lines forming during football games and graduation ceremonies.
The stadium study would also likely look at the pedestrian access to the stadium. The hilly walk up from the parking lot to the playing field challenges less-mobile visitors.
Many want to see a larger concession stand that would allow for a better menu. And John Marinelli, the school’s head football coach, said he would be interested in a new, larger scoreboard.
“Westport, Darien, and New Canaan all have brand-new beautiful scoreboards, and I know that it’s something we’re looking at here as well,” Marinelli said. “The scoreboard helps keep you in tune with the game. It’s just really important for the atmosphere of the community.”
The stadium itself is showing signs of wear and tear. Rust covers the undersides of many of the seats in the main bleachers. At the top of the stands, peeling white paint lines the outside frame of the sagging press box.
So, a new training building, with bathrooms, for both visiting and home teams alike. New, permanent bathrooms for 3,500 spectators. A new concession stand. A new, “beautiful” scoreboard, new bleachers, new press box, and in fact, an entirely new stadium – welcome to Texas, where they take their football seriously, goddamnit. If you appeared before our Planning and Zoning Board with building plans like these and argued that you were merely seeking permission to “spruce up” your home, you’d be sent packing faster than you could bribe our town clerk.
How much will all this cost? Who cares? “This is a necessary health and safety improvement,” Peter Tesei says, and if it save the life of just one child …
But fear not, “to offset taxpayers’ bill for the improvements, school officials want to recruit private donors to help pay for the upgrades.
“There is a long list of potential contributors given the large number of teams that use the venue.
“A fundraising campaign in recent years for the high school’s new MISA performing-arts center represents a model for a public-private partnership, school officials said. Community members have pledged some $1.2 million towards MISA, which has a total price tag of about $46 million.
Wow. And I’m sure we can count on the Junior League to contribute at least another $200,000.