Montclair, NJ – Montclair Kimberley Academy has begun construction on a major overhaul and upgrade of its middle school athletic fields located at the corner of Brunswick Road and Central Avenue. This philanthropically funded project was approved by MKA’s Board of Trustees in February 2022. To date, the school has raised 80% of the project costs and will continue to fundraise to cross the line. arrived at the project.
As part of MKA’s strategic plan, the multipurpose turf pitch will help improve the school’s teaching and learning environments to ensure they are attractive, flexible in purpose, conducive to teaching and learning, and that they fully support its programs and the full potential of its students.
In the works since 2019, this project was developed with input and feedback from Montclair community members and school neighbors. The Montclair Township Zoning Board approved the school’s proposal on Wednesday, February 9. MKA awarded a contract to American Fields of America with an expected September completion date for the start of the 2022-23 school year.
The impact and benefits of this highly anticipated project are far reaching as these fields are MKA’s largest and most used outdoor facilities, used by students at all three MKA campuses for sports and play. College students will have a year-round space to enjoy recess, which is an essential part of MKA’s academic program due to the positive effects it has on improving cognition and developing social skills. The layout of the courts will be reconfigured to maximize the number of teams and activities using the courts simultaneously. For fall sports, the field will be split into two adjacent fields, one large enough for college and JV regulation games and the other large enough to practice, putting more athletes on the fields in same time. In the spring, the softball diamond will be located in the southwest corner and the baseball diamond will be moved to the opposite northeast corner, creating two regulation-size playing fields with equal access for boys and girls. girls.
In line with MKA’s commitment to environmental sustainability, improvements to the college fields will have an added benefit to the community by improving stormwater management by adding water retention ponds and raising the level of the fields. Retention ponds are designed to slow stormwater runoff and reduce downstream flooding caused by heavy rainfall. Security measures for the fields will include fencing and netting along the demarcated areas. The school’s additional investment in landscaping means an increased number of trees compared to the original proposal and the use of native species for plantings.
MKA Athletic Director Todd Smith shared his excitement: “We are thrilled to move forward with this project. Valuing MKA’s outdoor spaces by making their use more flexible is a win-win-win. Student learning is enhanced, sports facilities are improved, and the community benefits through better water management in our neighborhood.