Cherry Hill approves plans to install new turf fields at East and West


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East still has a lot of work to put into its turf field. The addition of lights would mean that the Cougars will finally be able to have home games at night.

Last week reported that Cherry Hill Township has approved plans to install new turf athletic fields at both Cherry Hill East and Cherry Hill West high schools. The new field at East is a much needed addition, as the current field surrounded by the track has an abysmal draining system and uneven grass patches throughout. The news of a new field excites current East athletes.

Football player Ryan Swenson (’17) said, “When I heard that we were going to get a turf field I got really excited because now we can finally play on a nice field at our own school.”

The new fields are planned to be constructed during the summer of 2016 with completion during Fall 2016.

The new field is a great step for East’s athletics, but the new fields are just phase one of the athletic complex revamp for the two schools. There is a second phase of the plan that the Township has not approved yet, but the second phase is perhaps more important than the first.

Phase two would involve installing new bleachers, a field house, and lights around the new turf field at East. West would receive a new parking lot and lights. The second phase would solve a possibly bigger issue with the current East field and help boost the morale of the teams that will play on the field.

“Having lights would mean we get to finally have home night games which also means more fans will come out to enjoy our games and cheer us on,” said Swenson (’17) when asked what getting the second phase approved would mean to the football team.

As it stands right now the Cougars cannot have home night games because there is no lighting to illuminate the field. All Cougar night games are away games. For some players they dream of being able to play under the lights on a Friday night in front of a loud cheering fan section, but at East that dream is not possible due to the lack in infrastructure.

Every year the biggest football game of the season, the Thanksgiving Day game between East and West, takes place across town. Even when the Cougars are the ‘home’ team the game is played at Jacob C. Morris Stadium at Cherry Hill West because the game is played at night.

The first phase, which also will include a resurfacing of the tracks at both schools, is a wonderful start for the revamp of East’s sports complex. However, it is crucial that the school district and the township come together again to approve phase two and finally give East a stadium worth cheering about.