The Maryland National Capitol Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) is working to improve the condition of the practice field behind the Blair courtyard and plans to begin renovation after the football season.
Temporary work on the practice fields has already begun. According to Brent Conner, the Ball field Coordinator for MNCPPC, 100 tons of topsoil was added to the field and graded in over the summer. "Depending on several factors, including weather, budget, and field usage, additional renovation work will be performed before winter," said Conner.
The field will be closed for one year in order for renovation to be completed, which could include replacing the sprinklers and totally "regrading the field." In the meantime, spring sports will use the track field, which according to the Head of the Athletic Department, Dale Miller, will be completed by the beginning of the season.
Conner acknowledges that the track field may not be ready for use by the spring. Completion of the track field "could be longer... depending on [several] factors," Conner said.
Miller attributes the track and practice fields' poor condition to the fact that "the fields were never made correctly."
However, according to Conner, the "fields are the best they can be with the materials that are there to work with."
For many Blazers, the field is not in the "best" condition. The field has left many Blazers injured and sidelined for the season. Senior Jen Sindall tore ligaments in her left ankle last year while playing in a varsity soccer scrimmage, forcing her to sit on the bench for six weeks. "We were scrimmaging and there were so many rocks and divots, I couldn't see a hole and I stepped in it and rolled my ankle," said Sindall.
The field has poor soil and needs to be "aerated several times a year and soil amendments are added to help keep the soil from compacting and to increase the amount of organic material," said Conner.
According to Miller, abuse of the fields is also part of the problem. "You can't keep grass on something if it's used and used," said Miller.
A total of ten Blair sports teams use the field for practice during the school year, in addition to teams that have permit use. MNCPPC owns and maintains the practice field and reserves the right to issue permits for the use of the field.
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