JC breaks ground on turf field


Town of Bel Air Council members sit in a meeting in the Town Hall. During this meeting, they approved the memo of understanding between the town and JC which allowed the turf field to proceed.

On Oct. 20, construction began for the two turf fields that will replace the current football and field hockey fields.

According to Head of Facilities Stewart Walker, once started, the fields should be completed in 60-90 days, depending on the weather, which makes the tentative completion date around Christmas Break. The construction of the fields will not affect the football or field hockey seasons.

This project, which, according to President Richard O’Hara was supposed to have started in mid July, had to be postponed because of the discovery of cracked sewage pipes, which had to be fixed before the turf fields could be installed.

“We might not be the first to be able to play on new turf, but I’m not disappointed because we’re the last class to play on the grass field,” senior Kaminski Stuckey, varsity wide receiver and cornerback, said.

Other players are more disappointed with the delay. “I hate it,” senior Allen Bryant, slot receiver for the football team, said.

Although the sewage pipes are under JC fields, they are the property of the town of Bel Air. Additionally, the land is owned by the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

According to O’Hara this led to negotiations between all three parties which were not completed until a memo of understanding was ratified at a town meeting on Oct. 6, resulting in a delay of four months. The memo of understanding says that the cost of moving the pipes will be split between JC and the town, which will oversee the operation.

According to O’Hara these repairs come with an additional $85,000 price tag.

“[These funds] should be paid back very quickly with the increased enrollment, facility rental, and opportunities to host lacrosse tournaments that will result from having the new fields in place,” O’Hara said. However, although those tournaments can bring in up to $50,000, according to O’Hara, “it’s still too early [to estimate revenue.]”

The construction of the turf fields is only one step in a larger plan to upgrade sports facilities. After the construction of fields will come lights, fencing, and new scoreboards for the fields.

“We got close to a million [dollars], and then we had to borrow some to put [the fields] down,” O’Hara said. “We have to continue the fundraising to get permanent lights and fencing.”

The purpose of these fields is twofold. “First and foremost, [the] most important thing is to serve the student athletes,” O’Hara said.

The fields will also be used for tournaments for outside teams which will make the school money and offset the costs of the fields.

“These fields are going to help with enrollment and recruitment,” O’Hara said. “Athletics are the front porch.”

Will Bolton is an Opinion Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com