A renovation of the upper school athletic fields at Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union that began in late April marks the final phase of a full campus renovation that began in 2007.
The project on the West Orange campus — which is costing between $400,000 and $450,000 — is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.
The athletic fields refurbishment includes renovating the existing soccer and softball fields and adding a new running track. The improvements to the existing fields will include regrading them to improve drainage and bringing them to regulation size so that more home games can be played at the school instead of teams’ having to host home games at local town fields.
The new fields and track are expected to enhance the experience of the school’s student athletes as well as the general physical education program, according to Rabbi Ellen Greenspan, assistant director of admissions and marketing at the school. “In addition to raising the quality of the athletic facilities, the safety of the athletes and spectators will be greatly enhanced with the addition of a fence between the fields and the quarry that operates next door,” she said.
The improvements will also include an underground sprinkler system and a water fountain; a small weight room will also be added to the indoors athletics facilities.
SSDS offers 27 sports teams in the upper school, including baseball, basketball, cross-country, softball, soccer, swimming, tennis, and volleyball. Over 75 percent of its middle and high school students participate in the athletics program.
“We are so excited about the enhancement to our athletics facilities and look forward to both our PE and athletics programs being able to take advantage of improved and increased playing fields,” said Nancy Leaderman, upper school principal, in a prepared statement.