Just in time for fall sports, workers are putting the finishing touches on Marblehead's first synthetic turf athletic field.
Construction for the field started in June, and is set to wrap up by early next week. The athletic field behind the high school on Humphrey Street is named Piper Field after longtime resident Chris Piper who was killed in Afghanistan.
"It's been a great project," said Steven Maxwell, a Marblehead All Sports Foundation board member. "It's beautiful."
The foundation, which was created in May 2012, spearheaded the effort to raise funds for the field, and aims to provide on-going financial support for the construction and maintenance of the community’s sports and athletic facilities.
The fundraising goal for the field was originally marked at $1.3 million, but the final cost of the project was approximately $975,000, funded solely by private donations from residents in the community.
"I've seen so many residents of the town up there just watching the progress, just beaming with pride that this was happening," Maxwell said.
If all goes well in the next few days, said Marblehead High School Athletic Director Mark Tarmey, the first pairs of cleats will hit the turf by next week for a women's field hockey game.
The new turf field will not only take pressure off other natural grass fields in town, but it will also prepare athletes for collegiate sports, as most colleges play on turf fields.
"It's given us a beautiful field to play on, but for the quality of our athletes and quality of life for our athletes is going to be great," Tarmey said. "The old field was really tough to play on, the landscape of it was very uneven. This is going to be great. It'll give all sports who have struggled in the past few years on a real field, a great playing surface."
A dedication ceremony for the new field is scheduled for Thursday Sept. 12 at 6:45 p.m. in between a men's varsity soccer game and a football game.