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New Athletic Fields Hope to Alleviate Pressure for HVAA Teams

With a new synthetic turf being installed, HVAA teams and school teams will not have to share the same field for practice anymore.

For years the athletic fields in Lower Moreland Township have been an issue. Whether it needs more space for athletic teams, lighting, or the general condition of the fields, something needed to be done to address this problem.

In hopes of alleviating some of the pressure, the township recently approved the construction of a synthetic turf field to be built on the corner of the High School property. The township also came to an agreement with the Huntingdon Valley Athletic Association to let HVAA teams utilize the fields as well.

HVAA president Brad Sorkin was more than pleased with the recent news. In the past there have been three teams using one practice field, which does not make for ideal playing conditions.

“We've been dying for this field,” Sorkin said. “In our entire township, we’ve had one full-size soccer field. We've had to share it with eight teams on average. Two high school teams, boys and girls, two JV teams and travel teams.”

“We've made due, we're just way behind other townships as far as what we offer our soccer programs,” Sorkin added. “Basically you had a situation that all the travel teams practicing in Albidale . We have the field split in thirds  and have three teams practicing at once.”

PHOTOS: Construction of the new LM fields

Lower Moreland Township will model the fields after the ones used at Arcadia University. LM has lacked viable playing fields over the last handful of years and hopes this field will take the burden off a lot of teams.

The cost of materials and labor donated is between $500,000 and $700,000. And the township recently received a $7,500 donation from the HVAA.

Other townships like Upper Dublin have taken on similar projects to make playing conditions and facilities stronger. The one in Lower Moreland will be used for soccer, baseball, field hockey and lacrosse.

“It's not until you go around and seeing what other townships have," Sorkin said. “It's hard to develop proper soccer play on a field that is that tight and that clunky. We have put together a string of travel team age groups that are phenomenal. They deserve this. This is going to be world class.”

Obtaining the funds and getting the field approved has been “in the works” for years, but now local officials have the ball rolling. There were talks of possibly leasing the fields from Bryn Athyn, but that idea never came to fruition. The Huntingdon Valley Swim Club was also mentioned as a possible building spot, but the land was not level enough for sports.

“I’ve been with HVAA for 6 years,” Sorkin said. “This problem has been going on for years and years. Before that we kept working and working and looking at different opportunities. It really was the work of Commissioner Rob Demartinis that really made this happen.”

New lights will be installed so teams can practice at nighttime, and the synthetic turf makes the field playable for multiple sports. The lights are a different kind of technology that only will light up the field.

“If you walk three yards off field, you’re in pitch darkness,” Sorkin said. “The younger age groups have not had a lit facility ever. Once daylight savings hits, it pretty much kills the season.”

Sorkin said the HVAA would primarily use the fields for soccer with so many different age groups in the township.

Lower Moreland Township will model the fields after the ones used at Arcadia University. LM has lacked viable playing fields over the last handful of years and hopes this field will take the burden off a lot of teams.

“It's not until you go around and seeing what other townships have. “It's hard to develop proper soccer play on a field that is that tight and that clunky. We have put together a string of travel team age groups that are phenomenal. They deserve this. This is going to be world class.”

The fields are expected to be complete by June.

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