COLD SPRING – ROCORI’s high school athletic field is about to undergo a serious face-lift.

At their Monday night meeting, the ROCORI School Board approved the creation of a new, multi-use artificial turf athletic field on the ROCORI campus.

Joel Baumgarten, ROCORI's Athletic Director, says the roughly $800,000 needed to create the high-use turf field will be covered in full by donations raised by the ROCORI Spartans Booster Club.

Baumgarten says the idea for the project was born about 2.5 years ago, but didn't gain enough traction at that time.

“We couldn’t get enough donations, so we sort of tabled it for a while,” he explained. “But this year, we started to look at our current situation with activities planned in the spring, trying to figure out how to play football in March, and thinking about all the things coming up in the summer with our new (sports) seasons.”

Baumgarten credits professional fundraiser and Cold Spring resident/booster John Young with leading the most recent push for donor funds.

“Potential donors came back and said, ‘we can do it now – we can work it into our schedules,” he said. “It was a lot of great timing. Everything aligned.”

Baumgarten says the field is expected to be completed by October 31. The facility will be “more than just a varsity football field,” he says: it will also host boys and girls soccer and lacrosse, along with baseball, softball, dance, track and field and band practices and physical and community education classes.

“Everybody will be able to use it for something,” he said. “We did some tours of schools that have turf, and they have their schedules packed from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. with all kinds of activities.”

The field will also be resilient and able to withstand a year's worth of activities. Baumgarten says a typical grass athletic field is “beaten down, muddy and dead” after between 12-15 games. The upgrades will eliminate the need for staff to spend spring and summer restoring the field in time for the fall sports season.

“Instead of a dozen events, we’re looking at hundreds throughout the year,” he said.

Construction on the field begins Friday and is expected to last eight weeks. Baumgarten says the booster club is funding all aspects of the project, and will gift the field to the district when it's finished.

“The timing really was perfect for this,” he said. “We’re very excited. We see it as a centerpiece of the community and something to be proud of."

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