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As the school year approaches, the fall sport athletes and coaches have begun gearing up for the 2019 season ahead. Next year, the student athletes will have a new artificial turf field on which to play. This project was brought to the Board of Education thanks to special funding that was requested by the Garrett County Commissioners, Senator Edwards, and Delegate Beitzel. Governor Hogan’s budget includes approximately $1.2 million to refurbish the athletic fields at both Northern Garrett and Southern Garrett High Schools.
The request for funding to enhance the football/soccer fields was submitted due to the fact that there is no other funding source in the state of Maryland for athletic fields. The Board of Education did not ask for the funding as part of its annual operating or capital fund presentation. The one-time only funds are limited exclusively for use to upgrade the football/soccer fields and cannot be utilized for other capital improvements or system needs. The Board of Education must follow the state protocol for capital requests such as roofs, HVAC systems, or sanitary lines.
Garrett County School Superintendent Barbara Baker stated, “We would like to thank the commissioners, Senator Edwards and Delegate Beitzel for making the request and Governor Hogan for including it in his budget. These fields are not only used for a number of high school soccer and football competitions and practices, but many youth teams use them as well. Furthermore, the upgraded artificial fields will require very little upkeep or maintenance for at least the next 10 years.”
The plan for the installation of the new fields is in process now. First, a scope of the project must be determined and bids sought. When that is complete and students are no longer using the fields, the installation can begin. The entire project should be completed in time for athletes to begin the 2020 fall sports season.
County Administrator, Kevin Null added, “The commissioners are excited and pleased to have been able to help secure this funding. The athletic fields at both schools get a tremendous amount of use by many community and youth organizations, in addition to the school teams, and this will be a huge upgrade.”