Plans to build new softball fields on NPHS campus underway

After school, Zoe Estoppey, senior, rushes out of class and begins to speed walk to Borchard Park. It is the only way she will be on time to softball practice. Borchard Park allows the school softball team to use their softball field only right after school during the week. The lack of a softball field on campus has been an inconvenience to softball players, like Estoppey, but a project is currently in the works to fix this.

Under Title IX, schools are required by federal law to provide equal opportunities for boys and girls. This law became relevant on campus when complaints were made that it was unfair that the school provided a baseball field for boys but not a softball field for girls.

This is Estoppey’s fourth year playing softball for NPHS. Having experienced the hassle of rushing out of class five days a week to attend 2:30 p.m. practices, she dreams of a field on campus.

“For games and stuff it would just be nice to be on your own campus,” Estoppey said.

Due to the fact that a softball field is smaller and does not have an elevated pitcher’s mound, the school baseball fields are unsuitable for softball fields to practice or play on.

Before the softball players head to Borchard Park to practice, they change their clothes in the locker room, which is in close proximity to the designated spot for the new softball fields. “It would…allow us to practice more easily,” said Estoppey in regards to on campus softball fields.

Although no one submitted a formal complaint to the school about this issue, it has been acknowledged by the school district.

“It was a recommended project that Mr. Eby put on the list as part of a master plan,” Steve Lepire, principal said.

The master plan is a document that includes major projects to be done within the district. With the timeline and idea of the new softball field documented on the master plan by Eby, the project is expected to be in the design phase this year.

“It’s all dependent upon when an actual design gets approved, everything that’s going to be on the field…as well as going and getting it approved by the board, going to bid, letting companies bid on the project, and then the timelines for the construction of the actual field” Lepire said regarding the timeline of the project.

Mike Dagan, the head coach of the softball team, agreed on establishing a softball field with a 200 foot fence in the same back fields as the baseball fields. The expected cost is $1,206,420.00.

Building a softball field is a gradual process that can take years. “There’s a lot of moving pieces,” Lepire said. “There’s premeetings, there’s bid walk, there’s a preconstruction meeting, and then there’s a whole process of monitoring the construction.”

In less than a year, the project of creating new softball fields on campus will be put into action, assuming things run smoothly in the design phase. “Based on the current documents I have, it does indicate potentially breaking ground next school year to build it.” Lepire said.

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