Fairhaven’s New Athletic Field Plans Called ‘Unacceptable’
Updating athletic fields has been a popular topic of conversation in many corners of the SouthCoast over the past several years. While the pandemic has temporarily improved Old Rochester's grass field, the surface is back to being used almost constantly by a number of teams. Dartmouth unveiled their new turf at the town's stadium several months before COVID-19 shut down athletics last year, and it is getting rave reviews.
Like these other communities, Fairhaven looked around several years ago and recognized that an update was needed at the high school's main athletic field. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Baldwin made the case at Fairhaven's Town Meeting last fall, and the $1.4 million dollar project got the thumbs up from residents.
As plans for the renovation are being finalized, the Fairhaven School Committee had its first meeting to review the project. According to Fairhaven's Historical Society, in addition to the artificial turf, the plan calls for a new bathroom facility building.
The proposed location is at the South-West corner of the field. Right in front of the school along Route 6. THIS IS AN UNACCEPTABLE LOCATION and it must be changed, Voice your opinion to the School Committee members and don't allow this building to be put in the front of one of our most beautiful and historic buildings on the National Register. —Fairhaven Historical Society
Instead of building the bathrooms on the south side of the field, the historic commission is suggesting a move to the rear of the field, by the existing parking lot. That plan would "lose about six spaces," according to the commission.
When Fairhaven High School was built with funds generously donated by 19th-century oil tycoon Henry Huttleston Rogers, the enormous sum of money was handed over on one condition – that an addition would never be built to the existing building.
While Huttleston's wishes never mentioned a ban on building a bathroom near the entrance to the building, one wonders what the philanthropist would think of the proposed idea.