TELL US: Should The McCarthy School Get Synthethic Fields?

A Committee was formed last month on the issue.


Last month, the Chelmsford School District decided to establish a committee to produce a cost estimate and master plan for two new synthethic fields at McCarthy Middle School.

Things are still in the preliminary stages,with an estimate of approximately $3.2 million for both fields and $600,000 in capital funds from the town and school district along with $500,000 from private donors already allocated so far to the project.

Today, we want to ask you: do you think McCarthy Middle School needs new fields? If so, how much should they cost? If not, why not and do you have an alternative or is one needed?

Also, will the decision earlier this year on stopping billboards near the Chelmsford High football field have any impact on advertisers and alternative revenue sources for the project?

More information is available on the Chelmsford Public Schools website.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

Irene December 11, 2012 at 12:58 PM
No. Not needed. Billboards were suppose to support this project. Billboards will not be in Chelmsford. Invest in proper maintenance of the field. Aren't all the major games played at the high school field? Put funds towards projects that have raised our taxes. Not create more costs.
Andrew Giannino December 11, 2012 at 02:47 PM
These fields are an absolute necessity in this town and long overdue. Every town surrounding us currently either has them already or are in the process of getting them. Irene it is obvious that you did not read the report. the High School field is usen primarily for Graduation and home games for the High School thats it. Synthetic fields would open our towns school athletic department and youth sports teams to utilize state of the art fields that are safer, cheaper in the long run for maintainence and revenue generators. We just spent almost 5 million dollars on two buildings that over the years hundreds maybe thousands will enjoy, whereas the fields will be enjoyed by tens of thousands over the many years of use. This is not about money, as everybody thinks it is, it is about giving our children a competitive edge for their future. These fields will not be used by just the football team. We have Lacrosse, Field Hockey, Pop Warner football, Track and field events, soccer, and more that will all utilize al these fields. Drive by the McCarthy and you will see normal town folks walking the track that is degraded beyond repair. We are a town that is building to be on the cutting edge and this is one example where our edge is dull. We need these fields and I hope the people of Chelmsford will support them. Even if you currently do not have children in the schools, wouldn't you want them to have the best if you did.
Vivian Merrill December 11, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Back when my son played pop warner on the McCarthy field-the field would get very muddy. Although the kids totally loved playing in the mud, parents don't like the mud in their vehicles. Mine was driven home in the bed those days. Memories!
Kathleen J Murphy December 11, 2012 at 05:41 PM
The fields would be nice. Not sure if the money might be better used somewhere else? Also, it is important to address the flooding issues on the remainder of mccarthy fields and fix them up. Its not all about one or two sports, its about all of chelmsfords athletes.
Charlene Pindara December 11, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Having these fields in town is a must not just for the hundreds of student athletes who will compete on them but also when looking at a town to move into they will be a plus for families looking at our school facilities. As a parent of former Chelmsford High athletes I can say how important these fields will be in keeping CHS one of the top ranked athletic schoolsin the state. As it now stands many of our teams have to rent out practice time from surrounding towns and umass lowell to use their turf fields in order to be able to compete with the all the other towns in the MVC and in the State tournaments. This price tag is hefty. The fields at McCarthy and Granitville have gone way past their time it is impossible for these public fields to be maintained to the High School standards. Also as it stands now and in all past years the use of the Stadium is limited to fall sports due to reseeding being done each spring to prepare for fall. This means all spring sports are forced to play on inadequate field at McCarthy and Granitville. In my opinion the Stadium, McCarthy and upper chs (plateau) field would be the best places for three turf. To all who are against these fields who have ever or will ever have children or grandchildren playing any sport youth or High school in this town should be ashamed of yourself. this is truly a benefit to the future of the youth of Chelmsford. It is proven that children involved in sports are better students and citizens
Anna Bucciarelli December 11, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Iam past the age where I have a deep interest in the fields but all above stated well that there is a need. I do think the expense is a bit much and am not so sure that this is the wisest use of our tax dollars. I am simply ambivalent on this one but I see the good and bad that has been pointed out ... just wish our roads would get some attention too.
Mike R December 12, 2012 at 01:02 PM
I did not play field sports in town growing up, but as i have recently moved back, i would certainly consider the approval of these synthetic fields. I live close to the fields currently, and witness their daily abuse from all the sports and recreational uses alike - i can only imagine how much its costing tax payers to maintain and repair. I lived in Boston for 8 yeas during college and post-graduate, and my college invested in synthetic, as well as the city for one field close by. While the costs are high, the transformation is unbelievable. The fields are safer, easier to maintain, dont flood, and can be used almost the same as regular dirt and grass fields(wear and tear). I would like to see a full breakdown of annual costs to the town for maintaining these fields - how much of the cost it passed on to taxpayers, and how much is supported by families with athletes on the fields. What is the downtime to replace fields?-the one public park here took MONTHS to replace - so there goes a whole season per field potentially. And, what most people are going to consider - what is the payback? What is the 10+ year cost of these fields including installation - compared with the watering and maintenance of the current fields? I am all for it for 2 fields, even the above mentioned CHS track field if it makes long-term sense. But i wouldnt be upset if its voted down. The town and residents need avoid sticker shock and think of the benefits/drawbacks long term!
Debbie Levine December 12, 2012 at 01:56 PM
The fields in Chelmsford are not up to the standards of the other towns in our surrounding communities. It's not an esthetic problem, it's a fact that our teams would be more competitive for a number of reasons with 3rd generation synthetic fields. Our season could be extended into the spring and fall- as of now with traditional fields, the ground is frozen or muddy in the spring and the lacrosse season is always delayed because the fields are unsafe to use early in the season or would be damaged by use when the fields are too wet. There are rocks and holes and many uneven surfaces on ALL of the fields that make it unsafe for our players when running, cutting and falling during practices and games- and injuries can have long term consequences that go well beyond sitting out a season. Many times home games need to be re-scheduled or moved to towns that do have turf fields, taking away the home-field advantage and also 1/2 of the fans that would come to watch a game. We wouldn't have the need to rent space at other fields either. I have seen a lot of injuries on the football and lacrosse fields, and a good number of them could have possibly been eliminated with an even surface that a turf field would have provided, many new studies have shown that even the risk of concussions would be lower with a synthetic field. I want what's best and safest for all of the kids here in Chelmsford- now and in the future, and turf fields would be a big part of that.
erin murphy December 12, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Absolutely needed!!! I can't count how many times my son's lacrosse practices have been cancelled because the fields at McCarthy were flooded and all mud. All his games last Spring took place at the high school football practice field/baseball diamond and it was just a dust bowl. What an embarrassment for Chelmsford having out of town teams play on a field like that. I support the turf 100%....


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