Chicopee High to soon get new artificial turf

(Western Mass News photo)

Chicopee High School will soon have some new turf.

The current field has shown wear and tear over the years.

The athletic department believes thanks to some new technology, this new turf will be game friendly and much safer to play on.

For the artificial turf at Chicopee High School, it has been a near 15 year run filled with gang tackles, diving saves, and discus throws.

However, this summer, that all comes to an end as the city announced it will be replacing the turf that has been at the new high school building since it opened its doors back in 2004.

"The turf is just rough. When you fall on that turf, that's like falling on straight cement, so I'm glad we are going to be getting new ones, plus our cleats are getting kind of stuck in them," said Andre Fontanez.

Fontanez will soon be a senior football player for the Pacers. He told Western Mass News that the announcement came as a pleasant surprise to many students at the school.

While the football team will continue to play their games at nearby Szot Park, the chance to even practice on the new turf comes as a breath of fresh air.

"It would be different playing on turf, but it's a good experience to play on turf," Fontanez added.

The city council approved about $500,000 in funding for the project. There will be more activity on the field then ever - from soccer and lacrosse, to track and field and even gym.

New turf comes with new technology - a 'shock pad' that has shown to reduce injuries.

"The hits to the head on turf with a shock pad are going to reduce impact in concussions, so that's what we're hoping for," said Sean Mackin, Chicopee High School's coordinator of athletics.

Mackin said that they are in talks with the same company that installed turf fields at both Springfield College and UMass Amherst and believes through their extensive research into what's safe and what's not, they made the right call.

"We feel that we're making good decisions regarding that and the safety of our student athletes," Mackin added.

The schools plans to replace the field this summer before fall sports begin. They are also looking into the possibility of getting lights for night practices and games in the future.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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