Proposed location of the new lighted turf field, currently baseball field, and SWHS tennis courts.
Proposed location of the new lighted turf field, currently baseball field, and SWHS tennis courts.
Ethan Sands

$7.5 Million SWHS Campus Improvement Proposal

On October 24, the South Windsor Board of Education voted unanimously to pursue the $7.5 million campus improvement plan introduced by the Superintendent of South Windsor Schools, Dr. Kate Carter.

Included in the proposed renovations is a new lighted multi-sport turf field, several new tennis courts, new pickleball courts, and a new entrance into the campus from Ayers Road.

According to Craig Zimmerman, Chair of the South Windsor Board of Education, the improvement plan is still in the early stages of development. It was only officially proposed to the Board on October 19th and still must undergo multiple stages of approval, including a positive referendum vote, before construction can begin.

Handout from Board of Ed meeting showing color image of plans. (S.W. Board of Ed)

The addition of a lighted field has been a hot topic in South Windsor for the past several decades, according to Zimmerman. It has been brought to the attention of the Board of Education multiple times during that period, but failed the one time the town (operating outside the purview of the SWBOE) took it to referendum for a different location.

Previous proposals by the Board of Education, none of which had even made it to referendum, for the location of the lighted field had spurred criticism from neighbors, who were concerned about the after-hours light and noise pollution.

Handout from Board of Education meeting showing improvement plan overview. (S.W. Board of Ed.)

The new lighted field, however, will be adjacent to the Annex where the little league baseball field and SWHS tennis courts are currently located. While the school system is fully committed to being a good neighbor, Zimmerman noted that it is too early in the process to know and address some of the concerns of neighbors.

South Windsor High School is the only school in its District Reference Group without a lighted football field. SWHS football defensive coordinator, Kevin Quinn asserts “creates a competitive disadvantage for our players.”

SWHS Football coach David Hodge, agrees, adding that the lack of a lighted turf negatively affects the ability of all SWHS sports teams to have effective practices, especially as it starts to get dark earlier.

In addition to the lighted multi-purpose turf, new tennis and pickleball courts will be installed on the SWHS campus across the road from the Senior Center. They will be open to the public during after-school and school-sponsored activity hours in a much more accessible place, especially for seniors who might not be able to walk down the hill to where the tennis courts are located currently.

Model for tennis and pickleball courts from Board of Education meeting handout.
(S.W. Board of Ed.)

“The thing that sets this apart from previous proposals is that there’s just so many aspects to it–a new roadway, an additional turf field with lights, and new tennis and pickleball courts,” Principal Frank Rizzuto told The Prowl, “It has strong potential.”

SWHS English teacher Carmela Dahms-Lodge lives across the street from the proposed construction site. As a parent and teacher of many student-athletes in the South Windsor School District, she is in full support of the plan.

“I think it is a disgrace to our students, our children, that we do not have a [lighted] turf field,” Dahms-Lodge explained.

However, she does have some concerns about the cost of the project and hopes that the town will be able to find sponsorships and partners to help lower the financial burden on taxpayers.

Dahms-Lodge also mentioned the lack of traffic infrastructure that she, as someone who walks to school, is concerned about. She noted instances where she and other students walking to school have nearly been hit by drivers.

Model of traffic flow from Board of Education meeting handout. (S.W. Board of Ed.)

The new driveway that will be paved along The Annex is intended to help alleviate some of the morning and afternoon school traffic, making it safer for students who walk and bike to school.

The plan’s approval is still in process, but if everything goes according to the proposed timeline, construction will begin in April 2024 and be completed by November.


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About the Contributor
Ethan Sands
Ethan Sands, Staff Writer
Ethan Sands is a new junior at South Windsor High School. He loves writing of any kind and is excited to start at  The Bobcat Prowl this year. In his free time, he likes to play basketball in his driveway and he also climbs at Stone Age Rock Gym in Manchester CT. He doesn’t know what career he wants to pursue, yet, but is planning to go to some sort of college after high school. Between high school and college, he wants to go on a road trip across the country with his friends.

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    Max SchwartzmanNov 21, 2023 at 5:45 am

    Great article