I recently attended two meetings of the Freeport High School Track and Field Design Committee. This committee was established soon after the voters of Regional School Unit 5 approved the track and field and lighting referendum questions.

I went to the first meeting with quite a bit of skepticism. However, I was quickly impressed with the teamwork, capabilities, expertise and positive attitude of the team.

It is obvious that the committee members put in many hours on the project, far beyond the weekly meetings. The committee has a lot of ground to cover in order to meet various construction timelines. Noise limitations, traffic flow, parking availability, neighborhood concerns, player safety, public safety, lighting and field design are just some of the tasks that must be addressed.

The committee works efficiently during the meeting, taking votes at various points to determine which direction to take on the issues. Each vote is followed by further discussion, and sometimes another vote. No personality dominates the meetings. Each member is a contributor, and each person’s opinion is valued. With all of the political chaos that we hear in the media nowadays, it was incredibly refreshing to see how a group of dedicated citizens can come together and work toward a common goal.

My main concern with synthetic turf fields is player safety. It was one reason that I voted against the project. But with new field designs, using padding under the synthetic turf, proper levels of infill and regular G-Max impact testing and maintenance, synthetic turf can actually exceed the impact absorption qualities of natural grass. I’m looking forward to watching the first race and games on the new complex.

Bill Schmidt

Freeport