Wilson turf undergoes overdue renovations

Zoe Friedman

After 11 years of constant use, the Wilson field is finally undergoing a significant renovation after DCPS allocated funds to replace the field, and will be closed from May 28 to August.

The turf will be replaced, safety netting will be added, and there are plans to repair the storage areas and add an additional storage area for athletic equipment.  

“There will be a new scoreboard, and work [will be done] on the sound system for the stadium,” Athletic Director Mitch Gore said. “[The scoreboard] may even have video components.”

The field was the only part of Wilson that remained the same after the renovation in 2011. “The field was installed 11 years ago and they have a length of life between eight and ten years, so we’re past that length of life,” said Gore. “There’s also a test they do called an impact test for safety and there were a number of times where the turf failed that.”

Gore has been lobbying the last three years for the school system to make a change.

“We use our turf almost seven days a week and we have teams who practice before school, we have PE classes, we go out at lunch, we have evening groups who use it. Six to seven days a week, about eight to ten hours a day—it gets a lot of use,” said Gore. “I’m really excited.”

The construction was timed to minimize conflicts with school sports. “We don’t really have any sports practices and most outdoor teams stop using the turf field in May anyway,” physical education teacher Jennifer Conklin said.

Since the renovation started on May 28, all field related activities had to conclude by May 26.

The turf will be removed in strips with turf replacement machines, and then replaced. When students come back to school after summer break, the stadium will look completely new.  

“The surface will be not only [be] safe but attractive,” said Gore. “Although construction process slows things down and we won’t have access to it for a couple of months, [it’s] over the summer so it doesn’t impact our sport teams or classes.”