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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Support Harwood bond for athletic fields


By John Kerrigan

I have been a science teacher and coach at Harwood Union for over 30 years. I have been directly involved in the development of the Harwood Union trail system.

This network of trails has greatly enhanced the performances of the athletes I have coached in cross country running and Nordic skiing. Harwood is recognized throughout the state for its championship teams and outstanding individuals that trained and competed on these trails. The surrounding ecosystems have also been useful in my teaching of science.

So naturally, I was concerned about the impact the development of new playing fields would have on these wonderful trails and unique environments. At the same time I have witnessed the frustrations of my fellow coaches involved in team sports. They have to balance practice and game times on these limited facilities in order to accommodate the needs and demands of increasing numbers of student athletes. As a classroom teacher, I have witnessed the fatigue and frustrations of students that have had to participate in practices and games held at odd hours and off campus.

I was pleased when school board chair Scott Mackey asked me to become part of the process in the possible development of the new athletic facilities. He sought input from other coaches, community members, teachers and students. This was a refreshing change from a previous attempt to develop athletic facilities in 2002. In 2002 the input was limited.

This time the Harwood Union board has done it right! They have spent years listening to the needs of many. They visited campuses that have expanded their athletic facilities. They have been sensitive to the beauty and uniqueness of our mountainous campus and the needs of the individuals of our school and community.

The new facilities will provide much needed space for our student athletes to train and compete. Preliminary architectural designs show that the natural beauty and striking geology within our unique South Duxbury campus will be enhanced and preserved!

Some have said that during these difficult economic times the Harwood Union school board should not burden the taxpayer. The board is sensitive to this situation. When possible, efforts will be made to utilize local resources. Homes in our school district will become desirable to young families and more valuable.  

In 1982, Russ Foregger and I were astounded by the generosity of this community in the building of the Harwood Union track. Russ spearheaded a volunteer effort that provided a field hockey/track facility (a 1982 estimated worth of $250,000) with no expense to the taxpayers. I believe that spirit of volunteerism remains alive in our community. With the help of volunteers this $2.4 million bond to the taxpayers could evolve into a much more valuable facility.

Kerrigan lives in Duxbury. He teaches and coaches at Harwood Union.

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