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Field of Dreams comes to life at Antioch Elementary School

Antioch principal Karen Dillon, center left, and PTO member Peggy Rishe, cut the ribbon on the Field of Dreams at the school. Standing on the back row are Andrea Smith, past PTO president; Amelie Schoel, current PTO president; John Dippert of Aqua Duct Water Transport; and assistant principal Veronica Robinson.

Playing soccer, kick ball or football is going to be a lot safer at Antioch Elementary School thanks to the school’s Parent Teacher Organization and the entire Antioch community.

The project – turn a 27,216 square-feet multipurpose field at the school into a safer place for students to play by adding Bermuda grass. The field became known as the Field of Dreams.

“I just really felt like our kids needed a safe place to play,” said Peggy Rishe, credited with spearheading the fund-raising efforts that paid for the project.

“I’ve been a parent at Antioch Elementary since 2005," she added. "Both of my boys have scars on their knees from playing in this field.”

Scraped knees were not uncommon on the school’s clay field, which was interspersed with rocks and pebbles. But lack of irrigation made it impossible to plant grass.

The process all started the summer of 2010 when the PTO did an in-school survey of the teachers and students, asking for their five top wishes for the school’s playground. “We looked at the top three things,” said Andrea Smith, PTO past president. “Those were playground equipment, grass and swings.”

Money for the project was raised for what became known as the IIAC (Invest in a Child) campaign through book sales and a silent auction. A total of $80,000 was raised, $17,000 of which went to just grass the field. The rest went for playground equipment and swings.

“I’m very proud that the community came together and supported us in such a huge way, with something that we were all very passionate about getting for our kids,” said Karen Dillon, Antioch’s principal. “I’m excited that this day is finally here.”

After the money was in hand, the PTO reached out to the community once again and was thrilled when 84 volunteers came to help lay sod on the field on Aug. 27, 2011, working approximately 300 hours. It took a total of 2,916 rolls of Bermuda sod, which came on 54 pallets.

Two Indian Trail businesses assisted greatly in the effort: Shaun Crooks of Legacy Landscaping and John Dippert of Aqua Duct Water Transport.

Dippert, who has two children at Antioch, is credited with turning the impossible into a reality by providing the water for the field in huge water trucks. “We started out with 18,000 gallons a day for the first week or so. We watered every day for seven or eight days and then cut it back.”

Now that the field is completed, the school decided to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate. “This field is going to give us the ability to have more organized games going on,” Dillon said. “We’re going to divide the field into three sections, so there will be more organized participation.”

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Sep 30, 2011 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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