When Rich Silverstein arrived at Kingston City School District (KCSD) in 2017 to take on the role of Director of Physical Education, Health and Athletics, he felt it was important to take a look at the various sports venues used by its teams and gym classes.
“A little over four years ago, we sat down and thought, what are we doing for our infrastructure?” said Silverstein. “What are we doing to take care of all of our different sports venues so that we can have some longevity? If you take care of your snow thrower, clean it, remove the oil and gas every year, and clean the filters, you will get some longevity out of it.
Silverstein was speaking at a KCSD Education Council meeting held on Wednesday November 17 where he joined Director of Buildings and Grounds Tom Clapper to discuss some of the improvements and regular maintenance carried out on sports facilities and grounds in the district over the past four years. year.
“It’s a collaboration,” Clapper said. “We work with all the other parts and plays in the district, including athletics…We work very hard to keep our grounds in good shape.”
Silverstein explained that the district’s facilities are in almost constant use.
“Seven days a week, our sports venues are in use in the morning, afternoon and evening,” he said. “In the fall and spring, we average 700 to 1,000 people using our facilities every day. And it’s not (only) Dietz Stadium. It’s all of our grass, all of our different sports venues, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, lacrosse fields. We are used all the time.
Silverstein and Clapper described some of the various renovations and upgrades that some of these facilities have seen in recent years.
As of 2019, Kingston High School had new banners installed on the gymnasium and parking lot light poles; the addition of a grass field; purchase of football sledges and slides; and upgrades to make tennis courts usable, including the installation of windbreaks. Silverstein said work on the latter brought the tennis program back to Kingston High School.
“A few years ago we were at a point where we couldn’t use our tennis courts,” Silverstein said. “We were at Forsyth Park for our entire tennis schedule, and now we have an improved tennis facility.”
The district also completed work on the Burke Softball Complex, a new series of fields at Chambers Elementary that replaces the old Burke Field across from Mr. Clifford Miller Middle School.
“My freshman year we had a playoff softball game scheduled there and we couldn’t play because the ground was too soft, it rained two or three days before,” Silverstein said. “Mr. Clapper and I, after looking at our properties, we went to the Chambers fields, the little league fields, and we upgraded all of those fields and now we’ve turned them into the Burke softball complex.
The Burke Softball Complex has fields dedicated to varsity, JV and modified programs, each undergoing upgrades including new benches, safety nets and windscreens. Other improvements include the renovation of a snack bar and, on the university grounds, a new scoreboard and public address system.
While the Burke complex moved from Miller, the college retained its football and lacrosse fields, and starting in 2018, they began improving the grass on each of the three fields, which will be rolled this year with a new one. roller. New soccer and lacrosse goals, water troughs and safety nets are also in place.
A JV baseball diamond also remains at Miller, with security fencing replacement and a fit infield.
The Gruner Baseball Field in Lake Katrine is still undergoing a complete renovation, with carbon netting and protective netting installed throughout, improvements to warm-up mounds and batting cages, and various other renovations to make the field more welcoming for players and spectators. look alike.
Winter blankets on the grass
Outdoor fields across the district will also have winter covers designed to help fields survive the sometimes brutal stretch between the fall and spring seasons.
“Winter covers are the new normal for sports venues,” Silverstein said. “We have put winter covers on all of our outdoor pitches as well as our football pitches so that we can now stimulate growth during the winter, and when we have removed these covers the pitches are in excellent condition.”
Dietz Stadium, which the district co-owns with the City of Kingston, is due to undergo a year-long renovation starting in November 2022, a period during which the district will have to relocate all the sports that are usually played there. These include college football, field hockey, lacrosse, and track and field events.
This renovation will also see the district store many of its upgrades put in place since 2020, including new football, lacrosse and field hockey goals, new long and triple pit covers, new bets for discus and shot put, a new pole vault pit and other equipment.
“We have about a year to use Dietz Stadium before the major renovation,” Silverstein said.
Silverstein said the upgrades were designed with guidance from an athletic council made up of 12 to 15 coaches, teachers, caretakers and maintenance workers.
“We meet often and talk about how we can improve and continue to improve our athletic facilities and program,” Silverstein said. “They are my guide.”