Athletic upgrades usher in a new era to SPF


Jamie Frank

Outdated tracks, fields, and exteriors of a high school can make the difference between a beautiful high school to be envious of, and a bleak place where no one wants to be. The new athletic upgrades to Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School have already had a huge impact on the presentation of the school, which benefits students and faculty alike. SPFHS has started to update its exterior after the implementation of the new Raider logo. The school has struggled with maintaining the same Raider pride it has had in the past while embracing a new, updated look. A new track, football/soccer turf, and fencing have been installed throughout the summer and fall to reflect the new era of pride for the school as a whole. Several walkways were also added to the Shimmie Wexler soccer field to encourage students to attend home games and to promote safety for attendees.
 All turf fields have an expiration date in which athletes will begin noticing a deterioration in the game speed and quality of the field. The main reason that the Shimme Wexler (soccer) field and Tyson field (football) field were redone is that 10 years have passed since the last turf replacement.
 The new fields will now have the latest technology and contain a new style of turf. This new turf has more fibers (the pieces of plastic that looks like grass), and less of the rubber filler to make the turf look more realistic. 
The turf will now play more naturally and have a style more similar to natural grass. The turf is also made with a higher quality of rubber and plastic fibers which make the turf softer on the feet for athletes. It is safe to say that our new turf is probably one of the most advanced and best in New Jersey, as SPF is the most recent school to put in these new features. 
This new technology, however, came at a large cost. The turf on Tyson and Shimme Wexler field cost about $500,000 each and the recovering of the track cost roughly $200,000. There were also other additions such as new fencing installed along the soccer field as well as the concrete walk.
One of the most exciting upgrades of this exterior revamp is the track. Before the track was replaced, it was becoming a hazard for runners as it was very worn down. Students who run track can suffer from shin splints, stress fractures, runner’s knee and a variety of problems from running on a track that is simply too old. 
The track at SPFHS was too firm and overused, which made it less bouncy on runners’ feet. This made it faster for races, but dangerous for athletes during their everyday training. The brand new track is better for students’ feet and will be beneficial for cross country, winter and spring track training year-round. The track also offers the potential for hosting larger invitational meets in the high school field. 
“We would love to host some more meets,” football and track coach Peter Kane said, “We have a beautiful facility. When they redid the track years ago, the guys that redid it didn’t do the things that the track coaching staff had asked for so this time we made sure that all of the coaches got what we needed so now we can host more meets–hopefully big, county meets.”
This could mean more fundraisers including apparel sales and concession stands, and a variety of athletic booster fundraisers could become even more successful. The track opens opportunities for the high school to raise money to further upgrade the school or give back to the community. 
Athletes, students, and faculty have already become enthralled with the new track and fields and what they have to offer the high school as a whole. The upgrade has given SPFHS a new look and will hopefully serve athletes for years to come. 
As of now, the SPF community can enjoy the new fields and campus revamp. However, there is so much more to look forward to in the future regarding exterior upgrades for SPF.
“Eventually I would like to see lights and that’s the next big exterior push I’m making,” Assistant Principal– Athletics Ryan Miller said, “We talked to the neighbors about the lights and they gave us the okay, so now it’s really about the funding and deciding from a Board of Education standpoint if outlying the money for lights has a significant educational purpose and a positive result.”