In May of 2022, just as students and faculty were wrapping up the school year, an exciting project kicked off on the Thacher campus. New Field, as it’s been known since it was installed in 2006, was about to get even newer.
Thanks to a generous donation, Thacher's commitment to sustainability, and the hard work of a number of community members and friends, this summer the School made significant enhancements to the field, increasing water conservation, reducing maintenance costs, and providing the community (including some special visitors this August) with a beautiful venue for playing and watching events.
Water conservation is an imperative in the Ojai Valley, where we remain in a Stage 3 water shortage, and has long been a focus of the School’s sustainability efforts. When presented with the opportunity to reduce water consumption through the transition to an Ironturf synthetic woven system on New Field, the School jumped at the chance. Even with the water cooling system designed to reduce ground temperatures 20-30 degrees, the turf and rubber/sand infill conserve a significant amount of water. “Depending on the year, this work will save us 8-12M gallons of water,” said Ed Bennett, director of facilities at Thacher.
In addition to the important environmental impact of this project, the community is already benefiting from its new FIFA-size soccer field (also marked for boys and girls lacrosse) and cleared hillside, making the area more accessible and inviting for spectators.
In August, Thacher hosted a summer soccer clinic for 27 local kids, ages 10-14. The three-day clinic was organized by Kosuke M. ’23 and led by coaches from the Iniesta Methodology (Quim Ramon, former coach of the FC Barcelona u-19 team) with support from Thacher soccer coaches Juan Sanchez, Luis Jungo, Russell Spinney, and Oscar Luna CdeP 2018. And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
"What better way to start the celebration of 100 years of the beautiful game (as soccer is known around the world) at Thacher than with this clinic that brought kids from the Ojai community to our beautiful campus and new field,” said Juan Sanchez, Thacher’s Boys Varsity Soccer Coach, Director of Sustainability, and World Language instructor. “Seeing the joy it brought the kids and our student counselors to train with world-class coaches while overlooking the Ojai Valley was priceless. This is what soccer is all about."
Special thanks to our general contractor Byrom-Davey who managed the project out of their Upland office and the engineering firm of Ventura-based Jensen Design and Survey, both of whom helped us complete this project in record time.
For a timelapse video of the turf field installation, click here