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School board votes to fund new turf field

The grass field at Jim Thorpe Area High School has had problems draining rain.

JIM THORPE, Pa. — Splashing water, muddy players slipping and sliding, these are the playing conditions on a wet night at the Jim Thorpe area high school field.

The grass field used for soccer and football has drainage problems every time it rains.

There was a standing ovation when the school board voted to approve a $1.7 million turf field project to fix the issue.

"I was all for it. I was hooting and hollering because I think it's a good idea. We need to invest in the kids; we need to invest in the field," said Debby Park of Albrightsville.

The district says the field can only be used a handful of times each fall before it becomes riddled with ruts and footprints.

"We can't support a grass field anymore. You guys all pointed out, very, very well that with the water, we just can't do it," Joshua McCartney, Jim Thorpe Junior High Football coach, said.

The school board says it can likely go forward with this project without raising taxes or cutting educational programs.

The final price tag of $500,000 will likely come from a sponsorship deal.

But some people in the audience, like Allison Pirore, felt the money should go towards academics.

"This is money you could be using to hire more teachers or make our class sizes smaller," Pirore said. "Historically, my kids have been in classes with 28 to 32 kids in their elementary school career. That's a lot of kids."

The school board hopes to have the new turf ready for the football and soccer seasons in the fall.

Credit: WNEP
The Jim Thorpe and North Schuylkill football teams played in muddy conditions in 2018

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