Wellesley was bursting last summer with new sports field projects. Dana Hall put one in, Wellesley College replaced the one inside its outdoor track, and the new Boston Sports Institute installed an indoor one. Two new Sprague turf fields, part of a $1M makeover, were also being rolled out…and they still are
All of which has residents asking: What the heck’s going on with the Sprague fields?
We’ve heard some colorful stories about how all this has gone down, but Playing Force Task Field or Recreation Commission meeting minutes were of little use on that front. So much for our “Turf Wars!” headline.
We would have dug a bit deeper on all this, but with queries from readers coming in about the fields, we figured it was best to get an update posted sooner than later.
What follows is a straightforward account from Dave Hickey, Wellesley town engineer, who is optimistic the Sprague field replacement project will be finished soon. “We are up and running as fast as we can on this project,” he says.
Whether Wellesley spring sports teams will be able to take advantage of the fields right away should have more to do with ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) precautions than the condition of the fields. Gov. Charlie Baker has ordered all schools closed through April 7 and the town has declared all playing fields off limits for the time being. The organization that oversees school sports in the state has pushed off the start of the spring sports season to April 27 at the earliest.
The replacement fields being installed last summer “did not meet all of the requirements of the project specifications and are therefore being replaced, at the expense of the contractor,” Hickey says. “At this point the fields being removed are ‘like-new’ and we understand the contractor will move them to their warehouse as they investigate options to resell and re-install them at another site.”
The original Sprague field, installed more than 10 years, may have wound up being re-purposed at a site in Florida. “While the project specifications didn’t require that the old field be recycled or repurposed, it was a comment we heard from many in Wellesley and we were informed originally that it would be recycled and shortly thereafter that it would be repurposed,” Hickey says. “We are hoping to get a statement to that affect soon.”
Some work on the new installation in Wellesley took place in February as weather conditions allowed. Paint removal, installation of temporary fencing, etc.
“The more involved work such as the extraction and the re-install has been going on for the last 2 weeks and is expected to go on for about 2 more weeks, weather dependent,” Hickey wrote to us on March 11.
Wellesley’s looking to get the job done by March 20. “There is a chance that portions of the fields, and in all likelihood the painted line striping will not be done by the 20th, but we are giving it our best effort,” Hickey says.