As McKillop Field receives facelift, lax teams find temporary home

03/14/2015 12:00 PM |
The rough winter left McKillop Field covered in snow, which has finally begun to melt, delaying the sod installation as the field undergoes renovations. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

The rough winter left McKillop Field covered in snow, which has finally begun to melt, delaying the sod installation as the field undergoes renovations. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)

The Riverhead lacrosse teams will have a new, temporary home this season as Coach Mike McKillop Memorial Field is renovated. 

The makeover, which began at the conclusion of football season, will include a brand new field, new bleachers and concession stand. In the meantime, the lacrosse teams will play on the field behind the high school parking lot where the field hockey team plays in the fall. In the past, the boys lacrosse team used the field for practice.

The renovations to McKillop Field are part of the district-wide improvements underway following the $78 million bond project approved by voters in 2011.

McKillop Field, which is home to the Riverhead football and lacrosse teams, was dug up to be completely re-sodded.

Mark Finnerty, the district’s plant facilities administrator, said the new sod will be laid on the field as soon as it thaws out. The footings for the bleachers is set to be installed soon. The rough winter left the field covered in snow, which is finally beginning to melt.

“Everything should be in place on or about May 1, depending on the weather, and then we’ll let the field rest over the spring and summer,” Finnerty said.

Had the field been seeded, rather than sod, it would have needed as long as a year to rest, Finnerty said.

The new field will feature an improved irrigation system, Finnerty said, which will allow for better drainage.

The field should be ready in the fall for the start of football season, Finnerty said.

Riverhead boys varsity lacrosse coach Vic Guadagnino said he knew at the beginning of the school year that McKillop Field would be unavailable in the spring.

“We were trying to come up with some alternatives and that’s what they settled on,” he said.

Finding space to practice is a trickier proposition.

“We’re going to scatter from place-to-place where we can find space,” he said. “We’ll be at the middle school, we’ll be on a patch between softball and the tennis courts. Then, if the weather gets nice sometime in April, we can probably be forced to practice on that game field because there is just no other spot.”

Teams typically avoid practicing on their game fields to keep them in better shape.

A new scoreboard could be in the works for the lacrosse team’s new field.

Finnerty said the new scoreboard has been “proposed,” but there will at least be a temporary board.

Some other additions have already been made to the athletic fields. The resurfaced track will soon host its first meet. The track has several improvements, including an additional start line and a steeplechase.

“There’s a lot of new track out there,” Finnerty said. “It looks fabulous.”

A new scoreboard was just put up at the softball field, Finnerty said. The tennis courts are getting new fencing this spring which should be done in time for matches, Finnerty said. The courts will then be repainted in the summer, he said.

At a school board meeting this week, the architect who designed the district’s capital improvement bond project gave a presentation on building a new synthetic field that would cost an estimated $1.2 million.

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