Early April welcomed the launch of work on Park’s new turf field, which will open for the 2022-23 school year. This important project is a valuable programmatic investment in line with our commitment to the whole child. And, we have planned this project with environmental and health and safety considerations at the forefront of our decisions.
The addition of a turf field will enhance Park’s whole child program, benefitting athletics, PE, and recess. PE and recess are, of course, essential to the daily experience of every Park student, and athletics is an important co-curricular program that fosters the attributes of The Park Portrait, while building community and strengthening school culture.
We know, also, that strong athletics programs at Park are key to supporting equity, ensuring that students have access to robust after school athletic opportunities right here at Park without having to pursue costly extracurricular experiences elsewhere.
Further, data shows that scholars with strong co-curricular profiles are more successful in the secondary school process. We look forward to how this new asset will enhance student experience and expand the ways in which they grow in confidence, leadership, and as thoughtful collaborators on and off the field.
Environmental and Health & Safety Considerations
Park’s new field will be constructed by Sprinturf, a leading turf innovator and the only company to manufacture entirely in the United States. Sprinturf has complete control over their supply chain and all materials have been independently tested, revealing no detectable PFAS chemicals in their product.
Park’s field will utilize BrockFILL, an organic, sustainably harvested wood particle infill that absorbs water and cools naturally through evaporation, like soil, unlike some turf fields that trap heat with crumb rubber infill. While earlier generations of synthetic turf have been linked to knee injuries, product evolution has dramatically enhanced safety. Park’s field will include fully recyclable padding, ensuring that the GMax value will be equal to or better than that of the natural surfaces we currently have. The turf itself is fully recyclable at the end of its life; currently recycled in Europe, a recycling center coming soon to the U.S. is expected to be inline before our turf exhausts its lifespan.
Park is fortunate to have so many wonderful green spaces on campus. While Park is replacing the Goddard and Faulkner Fields, the new turf field will accompany our three existing playing fields — the Main Field, Upper North Field, and Lower North Field — helping us improve and sustain the health of those grass fields by lessening the burden on them, allowing time for rest and recovery, so they will thrive. Over the course of the project we will remove some trees – many of which are dead or diseased – and will plant more than 50 new trees that will continue to enhance our environment for generations to come.
When you consider the daily lived experience of Park students, it’s impossible to overestimate the value of Park’s outdoor spaces. Children learn and discover in our woods during science class, and invent adventures among the trees during recess free play. They learn lifelong health and wellness skills as well as collaboration and partnership in P.E. class outdoors. They grow as athletes, learning the value of doing one’s best as part of something larger than oneself, acquiring the essential grace of sportsmanship, and appreciating the lasting benefit of friendships forged through teamwork. This next enhancement to Park’s physical plant will ensure that our largest classroom – our campus – is fully prepared to support and enhance this growth. We can’t wait to see our students at play!