Back in 2014, the idea of a turf field for Hollis Brookline High School was first proposed after a glaring issue arose: lack of field space and field over-usage. Now, four years later, Hollis and Brookline have finally voted to pass Article One and allow for the creation of a turf field at our high school.
“One of the big things we saw when we looked at your fields as a whole – obviously, we know you are over-utilized – but just looking at the quality of the turf on the existing fields, they are getting beat up,” said engineer Bradlee Mezquita in the 2014 meeting. He went on to show how HB is “field poor,” with simply too many teams for the current amount of field space. Still, the town would fail to pass the vote because of fear of rising taxes and lack of a concrete plan of execution.
Flash forward to 2018, where on March 15, citizens filled the HBHS gym for the town meeting and to vote on new articles, including the issue of the turf field. In order to pass the article, the town needed a two-thirds majority vote. Miraculously, the vote passed with 535 “yes” votes and 266 “no” votes; breaking the two-thirds barrier by only one vote. Pro-turf field voters argued that our current fields are nothing more than clumps of dirt and grass and the students at HBHS agreed.
“The [current] field is very difficult to play on, with the unwatered grass disappearing half way through the season. The field condition starts out as bad- and just gets worse,” said varsity soccer goalie Ryan Coutu ‘20. The field’s grass may regrow if it were allowed periods to rest and receive adequate amounts of water, but with so many teams and such a high demand for field time, it’s impossible to have that time. A turf field will allow for more field space and avoid the over-usage problem.
Every sports team that plays on one of Hollis-Brookline’s fields faces similar issues. “Our football field is alright, but when it rains it turns into a slippery mud pit. It is nicknamed “the swamp” and makes playing a lot harder,” said varsity football receiver Chad Brown ‘19. In an attempt to keep the field in as best condition as possible, the team practices on the top of a hill. Littered with rocks and dust, this can hardly be considered a field and is a huge injury risk for the players.
So what does the “yes” vote mean for HB going forward? While there is no set start/finish goal for the construction of the field, the plan is to put the field behind the softball field. The turf will be used as the home field for the soccer, football, lacrosse, and field hockey teams, and will open up more field space for local adult and youth leagues to play on. Hollis Brookline has had some incredible sports success recently, and the turf field will be put to good use.