Columbus School for Girls has initiated two construction projects expected to be ready for the start of the school year in August.
A new Lower School playground is being built at its main campus and artificial turf is being installed at one of the fields at Kirk Campus.
On June 9, CSG broke ground on the $1.1 million, donor-funded project to install artificial turf on the north field on the upper level, said lacrosse coach Kim Rocheleau, who added the south field will remain natural grass.
“Turf has distinct advantages for CSG’s athletes,” Head of School Jennifer Ciccarelli said. “Particularly for field hockey and lacrosse players, the ability to practice on turf will prepare them well for competition on turf.”
Artificial turf can withstand heavy foot traffic and allow students to practice and compete outdoors in varying weather conditions, Ciccarelli said.
“Spring in Ohio may arrive at any time between March and June, and with it always comes a lot of rain,” she said. “Our spring athletes sometimes have a tough time getting outdoor practices in on grass fields.”
Rocheleau just completed her first year as coach and said the artificial turf will put the Unicorns “on the same playing field as teams we face.”
“We only played one team that played on grass (Pickerington North in a 15-10 loss March 31), and we played them at home. Everyone else is playing on (turf). It makes us more evenly matched. We are at a disadvantage every time we play. It’s faster and the ball bounces differently, which makes it difficult for our goalies to adjust to.”
Lacrosse and field hockey will play on turf, but the soccer team will continue to play most games on grass at the south field.
“I’m excited about the capabilities of having turf,” fourth-year soccer coach Genelle Castro said. “I think soccer is a grass sport, and we are going to keep (playing on the grass field). It will be nice to have the option of having practice once or twice a week on turf. That’s an advantage we have not ever had, and it’s something we look forward to, to help us prepare for big games that will be played on turf.
“We will play some games such as senior nights on turf, and we will be able to train there a couple days a week if necessary. That will be nice if it’s rainy or the field is swamped out.”
Ciccarelli said she, Athletics Director Megan Henry and Chief Development Officer Amy Borntrager worked with a group of parents to raise the money for the project.
“Although we have been discussing the installation of a turf field for several years – mostly in the mode of, ‘wouldn’t it be nice if …,’ it wasn’t until this winter when a group of parents got really excited about the possibility of CSG having our own turf field that we started planning in earnest,” Ciccarelli said. “That group of enthusiastic parents wanted to support the project philanthropically, and they worked with us to raise the money.
“Most of the schools we compete against have turf, so ensuring that the Unicorns have a state-of-the-art practice/competition field is really important to us.”
Construction also is underway on a $400,000 playground, which was covered by the school’s financial reserves and funds set aside specifically for the project, Ciccarelli said.
This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: Installation of turf field among improvement projects at Columbus School for Girls