Dear Editor:

Recently, the difficult decision was made to move the last varsity football game from the Jim Thorpe field to Schuylkill Haven. The game was originally scheduled to be played on Friday October 23 at home.

The reasons surrounding this decision were more involved than meets the eye. This letter will serve as an explanation of the issues surrounding this decision as well as the plans to rectify this situation.

First of all, the issue of poor drainage on the football field has been a problem since the field was opened almost nine years ago. Unfortunately, previous efforts to correct the drainage problems have met with limited success. Additionally, over the past nine years, the usage of the field has increased dramatically. We currently use the field for boys' and girls' soccer, varsity football, and junior high football. Additionally, the field is used by the Olympian Booster Club knee-high program as well. The increased use of the field coupled with increasingly complex drainage issues has led to deteriorating conditions on the field itself.

Athletic Director Mr. Dustin McAndrew and Assistant Director Mr. Ted LaRizzio reported on the field conditions to Jim Thorpe School Board at a recent meeting. The issue of safety for the athletes was first and foremost in the discussion. The deteriorating conditions of the field due to the poor drainage, coupled with the rainy weather every few days, has left the field unplayable.

To this end, the school board has authorized the first of several steps that will be taken that will hopefully provide a permanent solution to this ongoing problem. The first of these steps was approved at the October 26th regular meeting of the board. At this meeting, Brickman Group, LTD. of Allentown was approved to perform a topographic map of the athletic field using a GPS Survey. The result of this survey will be to generate existing condition information versus proposed information.

Additionally steps will also be taken to determine the condition of the drainage that currently services the field.

These are but the first steps that need to be taken to determine what the underlying field issues are, as well as to plan how best to ultimately solve the ongoing problem.

The district is well aware of the importance of maintaining its fields and the importance of providing a safe venue for its student athletes. While the decision to move the last home game to another field was not anyone's first choice; given the circumstances, it was the only prudent choice.

Thank you to all for your understanding as we work through this process.

Respectfully,

Ms. Barbara Conway

Superintendent, Jim Thorpe School District