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New Turf and Stadium Project Gets Underway

Kelly Slonaker

During the spring meeting of the Board of Trustees, Phase II of Canterbury’s Athletic Field Master Plan was reapproved, with construction on a new turf and stadium complex scheduled to begin in May and plans for the Saints to compete in the completed facility in late fall 2021. 

The project includes a second turf field on the east end of campus, adjacent to the site of Sheehy Family Field, the School’s existing turf that was built in 2013. The multi-purpose complex will feature a state-of-the-art, all-weather, all-season synthetic playing field lined for lacrosse and football; bleacher seating for 340 spectators; coaching boxes; and a six/eight-lane track. With the addition of stadium lights, multiple sports teams will have access to the new field for night games and more hours of practice and off-season conditioning. The facility will be open to all Canterbury students for recreation and exercise and will provide another campus venue to expand student life and weekend activities. 

Student-athletes representing the School’s lacrosse, track, soccer, and football teams gathered at the construction site with Head of School Rachel Stone and Director of Athletics Jim Stone to celebrate the first few sweeps of the bulldozer. A formal groundbreaking ceremony was not held as the campus remains closed to external visitors as part of the School’s COVID-19 safety protocols.

Initially approved in January 2020 and scheduled for completion later that same summer, the project was put on hold last year due to the onset of the pandemic. In a parallel timeline, the grass athletic fields to the north and west will be upgraded with irrigation this summer, including the new home field for girls' soccer and current field for boys' soccer, both placed on the western edge of the athletic complex.

Canterbury School offers 26 varsity-level sports and competes in the New England Prep School Athletic Conference. For the past five years, at least 33 percent of the School’s graduating classes have gone on to play college athletics at the Division I, II, and III levels, including 40 percent of graduates in the Class of 2021.

“This project will play a powerful role in our ability to attract and retain student-athletes who want to maximize their ability to perform on the hilltop and, for some, to further develop their potential for playing at the collegiate level,” said Jim Stone. “The addition of this second turf field and track is consistent with our long-range strategic plans to provide the best opportunities possible to our present and future Saints.”