First field in DHS project gets makeover
Workmen have completed expansion and putting turf on the first of three oval fields at Darien High School, with two other fields to be similarly made over before October.
The finished field, referred to as the center oval, has been expanded by 10 feet on each end to meet the necessary dimensions for all varsity sports and is ready to be used, Darien Schools Superintendent Dan Brenner told the Board of Education.
“I’m happy to report the center field is up and just unbelievable; a really beautiful field,” Brenner said.
The fields are part of a $4 million gift from the Darien Athletic Foundation, a private group that raised $6.5 million toward upgrading school sports fields and facilities at the high school, said Peter Graham, president of the group.
Graham, whose son is a quarterback for the Darien varsity football team, said the group’s overall plan has been to upgrade fields to handle more traffic in the face of a lack of field space crunch in the highly developed town.
Future projects set to move forward are a multi-media scoreboard for Darien High’s stadium, restoring and putting turf on a set of fields to the east of the stadium, installing LED stadium lights, and creating a 1.9-mile cross country path running along the perimeter of the campus.
“There was a group of us that got together and started talking about the lack of field space,” Graham said. “The problem is most of the town is developed and while we’d all like to have a plethora of grass fields to use that is not the case here in Darien.”
Work on the two other adjacent fields that are part of the three-field makeover is continuing with work to turf and resize the upper oval field, Graham said, and then the lower oval, which will be made into a natural grass field for softball. Both should be completed in October, Graham said.
The Board of Education is also expected to decide next week whether to approve a plan to hire a vendor to open a concession stand inside a $500,000 pavilion also completed using the foundation’s gift.
The plan put forward by Brenner would call for the concession stand to be open weekdays 45 minutes before home games, and close when games ended. Weekend hours would be 45 minutes before the game to close when the game is over during the fall and spring seasons, Brenner said.
Brenner said it remains to be seen whether any vendors would take the contract given the limited hours and other factors that could impact profits. Concession stands run in New Canaan and Greenwich fields rely on parents running the operation.
“If you talk about soccer games, are people really going to venture from the center oval to walk down to the pavilion; we just don’t know,” Brenner said.
Board of Education chairwoman Betsy Hagerty-Ross said that the board would take into consideration the concerns of neighbors brought forward before the next regular board meeting on Sept. 8.