By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
Beaupre Field at North Attleborough High School is closed to all use, including sports teams, after damage to sections of it was discovered.
The field was closed earlier this month after indentations were seen in different locations on the field. The damage was first noticed last summer and examined in October, but at the time it was thought to be the field settling. Chrome rubber was added in an attempt to alleviate the issues, but the problem remained.
At the School Committee meeting on Monday, May 3, NAHS Principal Peter Haviland said that the damage appears to have been caused by the school’s football team setting up weight lifting equipment on the field. Last summer, the team began an aggressive training program to increase strength, but using the school gym was impossible due to COVID restrictions. The team then moved their equipment to the field’s maintenance shed and the field itself.
“Nothing done with carelessness,” said Haviland. “It was done with the best of intentions.”
Luke McCoy, principal engineer with the architectural firm Kaestle Boos Associates described the damage has small indentations about five feet apart. He said that a test using a metal bar was conducted to locate places where there was an indentation of 10 millimeters or more. All told, around a dozen areas of the field were found to have this damage.
McCoy added that because of the indentations, there was the risk of tripping. A more thorough review will be done on Tuesday to determine the extent of the damage.
“From there will hopefully have an understanding of what the condition is and what needs to happen,” he said.
Athletic Director Kurt Kummer said that no sports can be played on the field until the damage is repaired, not even for practice. The spring season is set to begin in early May, with boys and girls lacrosse, tennis, baseball, softball, and outdoor track. Both lacrosse and track have utilized that field in the past.
“No sports can be played at the moment,” he said. “Right now, nobody can practice on it, nobody can play on it.”
McCoy told the School Committee that depending on the repairs needed, the field could be closed for a couple of weeks.
“We’re doing everything we can to get this resolved as fast as we can,” he said.
Beaupre Field—which used for events, games, and by the public—was already undergoing extensive renovations to replace the track and bleachers, which comes with a price tag well over a $1 million.
The current track is an inch-thick mat glued to the asphalt beneath it. Over the years off-gassing has taken place, causing the glue to deteriorate. Whole sections have been replaced, but can be lifted up. In addition, a section of one lane of the track was cut away when the field was replaced. It’s estimated that a track that can last 25-30 years will cost $679,000.
The bleachers had extensive damage that called for a complete replacement. This included rusting section of metal, flooring that people could trip on, and cement anchors that were falling apart. The old bleachers have already been removed, but the new ones have not yet been installed.