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Hightstown High School installs synthetic turf, renovates athletic field – The Times of Trenton

A Twitter picture of the athletic field renovations taken by HHS Principal Dennis Vinson. 

HIGHTSTOWN — Highstown High School is installing a new synthetic turf and making other improvements to its athletic field this summer, which will open up the facility to the soccer and field hockey teams and the band in addition to the football team, athletic director Gary Bushelli said.

Along with the turf, the $1.74 million project is bringing in new lights and a new scoreboard and will renovate the press box, according to school board records. Completion is scheduled for Aug. 23 but could be delayed because of recent heavy rainfall, Bushelli said Monday.

Before the renovations, the school only allowed the football team to use the old grass field to reduce wear and costs, Superintendent Edward Forsthoffer told the borough planning board at a meeting earlier this year.

Many other schools in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association already have turf fields, and Hightstown officials are excited to build their own on the Leshin Lane campus, Bushelli said.

“Half the schools in the league have it. Now that puts us at a fair advantage,” he said.
Turf fields are easier to drain so games can be played in the rain, and officials will not need to draw the lines on the field as often, he said.

“It’s going to save a lot on our maintenance costs,” he said.

In sports such as soccer and field hockey, the ball will have a “true” bounce, which means it will bounce higher and players can better anticipate its trajectory, Bushelli said.

“Our kids are going to be really excited,” he said.

The school’s lacrosse teams will also get to play on the turf next spring and gym classes will have the option to use the field.

Precise Construction, Inc. of Freehold was chosen by the school board to renovate the field.

Sports lighting company Musco is removing six light poles that had been illuminating the field and install four new poles, Forsthoffer told the planning board. The lights will not be visible from homes in the area. Each pole will have emergency lights that will be powered by a generator and will be able to light the stadium and parking areas in the event of a power outage, the superintendent said.

Fall sports practices are set to begin Aug. 12, but the teams will have to practice on grass fields elsewhere until the turf is finished, Bushelli said.

The school also finished repairing and repainting the gym floor earlier this month, and construction is continuing on the $700,000 renovations to the cafeteria.

The 2,500-square-foot addition is being built on a former parking lot and will provide seating for an additional 140 students at each of the two lunch periods, Forsthoffer said.

The larger cafeteria is needed to accommodate the high school’s growing enrollment, he told the planning board. The incoming freshman class is larger than the graduating class of seniors, and enrollment is expected to increase by up to 200 students in the next three years, he said.

Contact Alyssa Mease at amease@njtimes.com or at (609) 989-5673.


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