There has been some confusion regarding the status of Esmark Field and its availability for play during the 2012 High School season. We wanted to provide this update to help clear up that confusion.
This past spring was the first season of play for Esmark Field and the softball/ Little League field. The grass and playing surfaces were installed in the fall of 2010, and the dugouts and stands were completed in 2011. While we had hoped both fields would be available for play throughout the 2011 high school and QVSB seasons, the persistent rain we received in March through May did not allow the fields to dry sufficiently. A significant amount of dirt was moved during the original construction process and the fields needed a period of dry weather to settle appropriately. Unfortunately we did not receive that, so no high school games were played there; however we were able to begin playing Little League and Pony League games on the new fields toward the end of May.
As a result of the heavy spring rain and the summer drought last year, QVRA learned a great deal on how best to refine the fields to increase performance and playability for the decades to come. The fields are still in their infancy and we are watching closely how they react to the extreme weather. Early this fall, we implemented some changes to improve the longevity of Esmark Field. We estimate we will still need a short window of dry weather to complete those changes. This work can be done during the winter/early spring and we have professionals engaged to do this work. We are doing this work within these intermittent pockets of warm/dry weather that occur between the periods of snow or rain. We fully anticipate Esmark Field will be hosting games this spring. We expect the same for the softball/Little League field.
The caution being expressed by Dr. Marrone at the School Board Meeting the week of January 16th was meant to set expectations for the unexpected weather that could occur this spring. If we get the same extreme storms, it could take some time for the fields to dry out given their newness. It is important to remember that in Western Pennsylvania, rain impacts the playability of all grass fields. Much of the baseball season last spring was condensed into a shorter time-period in mid-May due to a significant number of rainouts. We had a number of games canceled at Chadwick Field and Sewickley Community Center, although since they are more mature fields they recovered more quickly. Dr. Marrone was simply pointing out that the fields are still young, and if we get heavy rain in March and April without some drying time, it is possible that games could be delayed until we get some dry weather.
QVRA is fully committed to do the necessary work to make both fields ready for spring play. The high school season begins toward the end of March and we are hopeful for a more normal weather pattern this spring. The QVRA board understands the frustration of those who wish to play on the new fields. We share that frustration. Yet we cannot control the weather and brand new fields take a season or two to settle in. We feel very confident that this complex is going to be one of the premier sites in western PA, and we continue to work to perfect its design and tailor its necessary maintenance. As always, QVRA extends its heartfelt thanks to the community for past and continued support of this project.
The QVRA Board of Directors