50th Edition, Sports

Newton South’s fields of dreams not always dreamy

By Zach Pawa
Published: February 2011

By Zach Pawa, Volume 50
February 15, 2011

Throughout the years, South students have seen the facilities change. From the dangerous football fields of the 60s, to the state-of–the-art complexes built in 2009, there has been the addition of the new fields, the Field House, and the tennis courts. South was built in 1960 with the athletic fields already there. Then, the old layout of the athletic complex was one giant complex that fit roughly two fields in addition to a football field with bleachers.
In 1962, the land beside the school, where the baseball, softball, and soccer fields are, was swampland. A contractor was hired to fill the swamp and create usable fields. To fill it in, the contractor used swamp fill, a cheap alternative composed of dirt and glass shards, rather than clean fill, which was safe to use but was more expensive. “[The fill] really became a problem,” Jon Frieze, Head of South’s Booster Club, said. “The glass resurfaced and began cutting athletes.”
Originally, the area where the football stadium currently is was also swampland. In 1977, former Athletic Director George Winkler worked to fill in the swampland and create more fields for the school. These fields, fortunately, were filled correctly.
Not only were South athletics affected, but other organizations, such as Little League, Newton Youth Soccer, and Newton Girls’ Soccer, were also forced to cancel games.
According to Frieze, the complex was not ideal for athletics because of its uneven and mushy surface.
While the modifications to the fields appear the most prominent adaptations to South’s outdoor athletic facilities, the indoor additions shaped the current layout of the fields.
Most winter sports had to cram in two small gymnasiums, Gym B being the larger of the two, before the major renovation in 2003. Along with Gym B, there was an upstairs gymnasium where the current Dance Studio and Fitness Center are situated.
The two gyms provided minimal seating for South’s loyal spectators compared to the seating in the current arrangement.
The most beloved and greatest glory for the Athletic Department, the Field House, was built in 2003, and since its construction, it has become the center of South athletics, assemblies, and graduations.With the current complex, most programs now have the space and resources needed to compete with the high-caliber competition in the Dual County League (DCL).
Athletes love the new fields. Alex Foner, a two-sport Varsity captain, was thrilled with the new complex.
“I found with the old fields that the outcomes of the soccer games were affected by the field,” Foner said. “With the turf, the only factor affecting the games is the talent of the players.”
With the old fields, teams would usually have to go off-campus to play.
The new baseball and softball fields allow both Varsity programs to relocate to the home turf, attracting noticeably larger crowds. By having a field to call their own, the teams had more flexibility with practice time than they had when they were sharing recreational fields around Newton.
We have come a long way from the dangerous swamp-filled fields of our past to our beloved pristine facilities of today.
Two state-of-the-art turf fields, baseball and softball fields, and a 1,000-seat football and track and field facility are the pride and joy of today’s South athletics. This addition has been the final step, along with the brand new ropes course, in creating a beautiful and useful complex for South sports programs.
Prior to the 2010 – 2011 academic year, an adventure course was installed near the practice football field outside the Field House. The 19-piece course was funded by a Carol A. White Physical Education Program grant. The course is used for a new class, Project Adventure, in which students work on team building and trust. The students eventually move onto the adventure course and use both the high and low elements.
Over the past 50 years, South has seen many changes in its facilities. In the near future, there are no renovations to the current athletic complex. And why should there be? The schools, namely the Athletic Department, created a slew of facilities designed to not only keep programs at the top of the Dual County League, but to also provide the resources to propel them to perennial success.

Read more

Like it? Share it!


Copyright © Denebola | The Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School | 140 Brandeis Road, Newton, MA 02459.
Site designed by Chenzhe Cao.