SHREWSBURY – St. John’s High School has begun the process of putting together a committee that will be charged with raising the funds necessary to install field turf and lights at Pioneer Field, two sources within the school confirmed recently.
Both sources also confirmed that the school would like to have the project completed by the beginning of the 2019-2020 academic year.
“That’s the plan,” one of the sources said.
Alex Zequeira, St. John’s Headmaster, declined to comment on the matter when reached via telephone at his office Thursday morning.
“We’re not prepared to publicly comment at this time,” Zequeira said, “but we’re very close to talking about projects that are in the planning stages.”
When asked if the field renovation was a project that’s definitely in the planning stages, Zequeira was again non-committal.
“We’re not announcing anything yet,” he reiterated. “What we’re going to roll out in regard to new projects and renovations is still in the planning stages.”
One of the sources contacted for this story, however, said the process for funding renovations of is well underway, with much of the fund-raising committee already in place.
“What I will say publicly is that we have discussed at a lot of venues the importance of health and wellness,” Zequeira said. “Over the years we’ve spent between $20 and $25 million on capital projects, most of which have involved new buildings and renovations to existing buildings. We see a dedication to improving our health and wellness programs as the final piece of the puzzle.”
In addition to other renovations on campus, St. John’s has improved the conditions of its athletic fields, most notably the baseball and football fields. On the baseball field the school has installed permanent seating behind home plate and upgraded the overall condition of the field. In recent years on the football field the grass playing surface has been upgraded and new stands and a field house have been added. The old, dilapidated press box was also replaced.
Because access to Pioneer Field is limited to one gate that is easily monitored, the site – following the addition of field turf and lights – would be in the running, if not the desired choice given its central location – to host central Mass., and state tournaments.