Curious about what it takes to rebuild playing fields? Check out the play-by-play of our Oak Bluffs School project!
Field work began June 27, 2018 and both fields were open for the start of school on September 4th
Total cost? $180,000
All subcontractors were locally hired Island businesses
June 12, 2018 — THE FIELD FUND TO rebuild OAK BLUFFS SCHOOL'S PLAYING FIELDS
After several months of planning, Dr. Megan Farrell, Principal of The Oak Bluffs School and Mollie Doyle, President of The Field Fund formally sign the contract to rebuild the school’s two playing fields! This project is Phase One of a two-phase plan to upgrade the School’s campus. Part Two, which includes new basketball and tennis courts funded by Town Community Preservation Act monies, will be completed in the summer 2019.
The Field Fund is proud to support this elementary school first as it is the largest on the Island – supporting 445 students – and with the most need. Fifty-two percent of its students qualify for free or reduced lunch, 19% are special education students. Despite these challenges, The Oak Bluffs School is deemed a Level One School by the Department of Early and Secondary Education! We are thrilled to partner with The Oak Bluffs School to make their goal of two, regulation-sized, healthy playing fields a reality.
June 14, 2018 — Vineyard GAZETTE COVERAGE
Thank you to the Vineyard Gazette for this fabulous article about our efforts including our rebuild of the Oak Bluffs School fields as well the grant we received from UMass Lowell’s Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI)!
June 15, 2018 — Installation of NON-POTABLE WELL FOR NEW IRRIGATION SYSTEM
Thank you to John Clarke’s team at Island Water Source for installing the new, non-potable well at The Oak Bluffs School. The old irrigation system was using treated (flouridated!) Town water, wasting precious resources. This non-potable well will alleviate some of the demand on the Town of Oak Bluffs’ water supply.
June 27, 2018 — Demolition DAY!
With school out for summer vacation, The Oak Bluffs School field rebuilds officially began today as Daniel Rogers Excavation cleared the former baseball infield. The school had requested that The Field Fund convert the rarely used baseball field into a new, multipurpose playing field for a total of two, regulation sized playing fields.
Here we go!
July 3, 2018 — LEVELING THE PLAYING Fields
Daniel Rogers Excavation rough grade the fields to prepare the site for irrigation installation.
July 17, 2018 — POWER!
Thank you to Cole Powers and his team for bringing the electricity for the new irrigation system. The trench is in and we will have power shortly!
July 24, 2018 — IRRIGATION IS GOING IN!
Thank you Bettencourt Irrigation and Landscape!
August 8, 2018 — The water is flowing
Huge thanks to Bettencourt Irrigation for getting this state of the art system up and running in short order! System is running perfectly and the field are ready to be seeded.
August 14, 2018 — we reap what we sow
The grass seed is in the soil! To get fast establishment and durability, the grasses being seeded today are RPR Regenerating Perennial Ryegrass & Vitality 2.0 Super Elite Kentucky bluegrass. RPR from Barenbrug USA was spread onto the field surface and rolled to make full soil contact. It will now germinate in 5 days to provide quick cover for play. With that cover, RPR has a patented perennial ryegrass technology to spread out to withstand and fill-in to recover from heavy use. In multiple traffic studies, RPR ranked highest. Those studies included one performed just 13 days after seeding.
Vitality from Landmark Turf & Native Seed will germinate in less than 10 days and will start driving rhizomes across under the soil for field stability within 17 days. Because of its aggressiveness under the soil, the Vitality seed was sewed 1/2” down into the soil with our Redexim Overseeder. The rhizomes and dense root mass below will support the RPR and provide even more recovery from heavy use.
The combination of these unique and different grass types creates a sward that is extremely durable and incredibly aggressive. But also the combo requires less feeding, less water, and less overseeding while being virtually disease resistant with Vineyard weather. The RPR will thrive during the cool spring while the Vitality won’t flinch at Vineyard summer temperatures.
But most importantly the grasses will provide a high quality playing surface for Oak Bluffs School students and for the broader Vineyard community.
August 17, 2018 — MORNING IRRIGATION
Thank you to our lovely sign makers!
August 19, 2018 — GERMINATION!
Just 5 days from seeding and already this quick germinating RPR is doing its thing!
August 24, 2018 — 10 DAYS FROM SEEDING!
Amazing to see grass growing before our eyes!
August 28, 2018 — 2 WEEK OLD FIELD
Two weeks from seeding and one week before the fields will open for the start of school.
September 3, 2018 — OVERSEEDING BEFORE OPENING DAY TOMORROW!
Thank you Don Sexton for spending your Labor Day overseeding the fields! While we would have loved to let the fields grow in for another week or two, The Oak Bluffs School children return to school tomorrow and need their fields. Fortunately, this 3 week old grass can take it and the field will only get better with time! Here’s to a great school year for all!!
September 21, 2018 — READY TO ROLL!
Thanks to Daniel Rogers Excavation for rolling the fields today. They are going to offer a super smooth playing surface for the Island community!
October 3, 2018 — 7 WEEKS OLD, 7 INCH ROOTS!
In case there was ever any doubt, grass grows! This is a sample from one field seven weeks from seeding, after being open for use for 3 weeks. The fields will only continue to fill in and get stronger.
May 21, 2019 — REFLECTIONS 6 MONTHS IN
The newly renovated Oak Bluffs School fields opened six months ago. At that point, the fields were 3 weeks old. They had been seeded, aerated, limed, organically fertilized, and overseeded. Would we have preferred to let them grow in for another few weeks before opening them? Sure. But reality didn’t allow for that, and that was OK. Oak Bluffs’ 450 school students and other community members were able to enjoy the fields which was all that mattered. Because we understood that fields are works in progress. They aren’t precious. They are meant to be played on and we encourage folks to do just that!
Six months in, The Field Fund has not asked that the fields be closed once. We did not close the fields in early spring, despite the exceptionally rainy weather. And we encouraged the Oak Bluffs School Committee and Principal to approve all the field usage requests that came to them. The fields can take it.
We continue to help maintain the new fields – offering supplemental mowing (the school custodian and The Field Fund each mow once a week), overseeding with high quality seed, surface and subsurface decompaction, and organic fertilization. We also understand the fields much better. We know from our POGO data mapping that the parts of the fields where we imported soil during the regrade hold more water because they have higher organic content (the topsoil came from a farm). So we have lowered the irrigation settings in those areas and are working to boost organic content in the surrounding areas to create more uniform soil composition.
Nothing makes us happier than seeing the fields in use – whether it’s by Oak Bluffs School students, recreational lacrosse and soccer players, or neighbors (dogs included!). That’s what the fields are there for and we know that they are only going to get better.