Tri-Town Unified Recreational Facilities, Inc.

To the Editor:

The Old Rochester Regional (ORR) School Committee supports the Tri-Town Unified Recreational Facilities, Inc. (T.U.R.F.) nonprofit group’s efforts to rehabilitate the high school’s outdoor athletic facilities for the benefit of the entire community. At its October 2016 meeting, the School Committee toured the athletic facilities, saw first-hand the ravages of continual use on grass fields, and learned about the limitations the field/track/court conditions place on hard- working student-athletes. During the tour, the Committee also discussed how maintenance of the fields has been excellent, but that it has been over 15 years since the facilities have had any reconstruction or renovation.

“I was surprised to learn,” said Heather Burke, Marion representative to the School Committee, “that the gym classes are out here utilizing the fields all day. So, in addition to teams practicing on the fields from two in the afternoon to seven at night, kids are on them from eight in the morning until the sports teams start up. How is the grass ever supposed to recover?” Later during this tour, ORR staff noted that on the weekends the fields are used by Tri-Town youth and adult sports leagues.

At their January meeting, the ORR School Committee touched on how an overhaul of the outdoor athletic facilities could not be accommodated in the current school budget nor in any foreseeable budget. In a separate interview, Tina Rood, chairperson of the ORR School Committee commented, “The vast majority of our school budget goes towards sustaining the amazing programs we already have for our students. The Committee seems to recognize that the fields need an investment, but there isn’t room for it in current budgets.”

When asked about the fact that a group of local community members initiated the T.U.R.F. effort, Ms. Rood elaborated, “We are always happy when parents get involved with the school. It makes the school stronger. Whether it is running concessions at a drama production, following up with children on homework, helping with a fundraiser, or cheering at a game, having more families and community members participating here at the school is awesome. We, as a committee, look forward to learning more about what T.U.R.F. is proposing when they are ready to share it with us.”

The School Committee recommends that those who are interested in learning more about T.U.R.F. visit the organization’s website at orrturf.com or click on the T.U.R.F. button on the high school’s website.

More information about the ORR School Committee, including upcoming meeting dates, can be found at www.oldrochester.

Old Rochester School Committee

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