Dear GFA Community,
In 2011, GFA became the first school in Connecticut to install an environmentally responsible synthetic turf field. More than eight years later, GFA has expanded to serve 715 students. Our athletic program has grown and is flourishing, and a single artificial turf field no longer accommodates the needs of our student-athletes. The interscholastic athletic landscape has also changed; field hockey is expected to be played on artificial turf, lacrosse has trended in the same direction, and our soccer teams prefer the consistency of the surface.
On May 18th, we will begin the process of renovating the existing turf field and begin construction of a second artificial turf field. We will also add an adjacent warm-up field and a partial track. This improvement and expansion will allow more practice and gameplay for those sports best played on turf, provide optionality for baseball and softball training during inclement weather, and offer an on-campus home for our growing track and field program. We expect the renovation process on the existing turf field to be completed this summer and the completion of construction of the new turf field by fall 2019.
GFA’s commitment to the whole child begins with the partnership between students, teachers, and coaches, and is enhanced by high-performing spaces that support teaching and learning: the Janet Hartwell Performing Arts Center, Harkness tables, STEAM workspaces, fine art and performance studios, and contemporary science labs, serve as a few examples. This investment complements our recently completed squash facility, wrestling gym, and fitness center. The addition of an expanded turf complex will have a positive impact on the entire school community and facilitate additional athletic and recreational activities for all our learners from PreK - 12.
- Two full playing fields will allow our field hockey, soccer (boys and girls), and lacrosse (boys and girls) teams from both our Middle and Upper School divisions to have significantly more access to top quality, all-weather playing surfaces.
- The partial track and turf fields will be integrated into our PE programming for PreK-12.
- The additional turf field will serve as an all-weather recess field for Lower School.
- The additional field allows Middle and Upper School sports teams to begin practice outdoors weeks earlier in the spring.
- The warm-up field will allow softball and baseball players to practice during the spring when the natural playing surfaces are often unplayable due to wet weather conditions.
- The partial track will allow track and field athletes to practice hurdles, relay baton hand-offs, and interval training on a surface that replicates track competition. Currently, our track team runs in the parking lot or travels to Saugatuck Elementary School and runs on an asphalt track.
- The additional turf field reduces the wear on existing natural grass fields by allowing us to put more heavy usage on the artificial playing surfaces, particularly during and after rain events.
GFA’s new and renovated artificial fields will adhere to the most rigorous safety and sustainability requirements, continuing our commitment to the standards of excellence we hold our school to in any renovation, or improvement. We invite you to learn more about the project’s safety and sustainability measures, take a sneak peek at the layout, and explore some FAQs below.
We are grateful for the generosity of a small group of parents who wanted to ensure we had this facility for the 2019-20 season, rather than waiting for the next capital fundraising effort. We’re excited about this investment in support of programmatic excellence at GFA. Two turf playing fields have been the standard for several years within our independent school peer group, and our community’s investment in this area helps us better position our student-athletes to reach their full potential and provides programmatic benefits across all divisions.