By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — With speeches, awards of recognition and a ceremonial ribbon cutting, the Lynnfield community held the grand opening for the $6.5 million Lynnfield High School fields complex on Friday, Oct. 10.
Over 1,000 raucous Lynnfield Pioneer fans attended the grand opening for the brand new Lynnfield Pioneer Stadium Field. The bleachers, which were built for 826 attendees, were full to capacity and a number of attendees watched the game standing around the field’s perimeter.
In an interview with the Villager before the halftime ceremony, Superintendent of Schools Jane Tremblay personally thanked the hundreds of townspeople for coming out for the football team’s home opener against Georgetown and the grand opening ceremony.
“It’s an absolutely beautiful evening to have Friday night lights in Lynnfield,” said Tremblay. “The atmosphere is absolutely amazing.”
High School Principal Bob Cleary served as the emcee for the grand opening ceremony. The ceremony featured members of the Fields Committee, local officials, school officials and the captains of all seven LHS fall athletic teams.
School officials’ comments
Cleary offered a sincere thanks to the local residents who voted overwhelmingly for the fields project at Town Meeting in April.
“I would like to thank the entire Lynnfield community for supporting this project,” said Cleary. “These fields are going to be a tremendous asset not only for our student-athletes here at the high school but also for our youth programs.”
School Committee Chairman Chris Barrett echoed Cleary’s comments. He personally thanked the Fields Committee, particularly chairman Arthur Bourque, for “their hard work and dedication to deliver such a tremendous investment for our student-athletes.”
“Tonight we not only celebrate this accomplishment but we also begin to create the countless memories that will result from it,” said Barrett. “But we must never forget the many years and the generous investment that went into making this project a reality. Once again, our community can stand proud knowing that we do whatever it takes to provide the very best for the children of Lynnfield. A night like this reminds us once again why we can be so proud to call ourselves Lynnfield Pioneers.”
Selectman Phil Crawford said this was a great day for the Lynnfield community. The project was approved by the voters at the April Town Meeting by a margin of 95 percent.
“We are starting a new era in the town of Lynnfield that will be enjoyed by youths and adults for generations,” said Crawford.
Crawford personally thanked Bourque for playing an “integral role” in getting the new LHS fields complex built. He said the fields committee chairman has spent countless days and hours at the site since shovels went into the ground last spring.
Bourque comments, awards
Bourque received a rock star–like introduction when Crawford introduced him to the crowd.
The fields committee chairman paid tribute to a fields committee formed in 2006 that consisted of Bill Adams, Joe Duhaime, Kevin McHugh and Peter Montesanto. He said that fields group laid the foundation for the 2012 committee that was able to get the ball into the end zone.
“They really set the table for us in order to make this (project) happen,” said Bourque. “They started this in 2006. They worked very hard and got the ball all the way down the field and almost got it over the goal line. We came back in 2012 to finish this off.”
Bourque also thanked current Fields Committee members McHugh, Bob Priestley, Kevin Sullivan, Kyle Shinnick and secretary Debbie Dunphy for spending “hundreds of hours” in meetings and spending “thousands of hours” reviewing documents for the project.
“We came together as a group,” said Bourque. “It was a great task and it was a lot fun but it was also a lot of work.”
Bourque also thanked Crawford, who previously served on the Fields Committee until he was elected to the Board of Selectmen in April 2013.
“(Crawford) has been down at the fields with me week after week and day after day,” said Bourque. “He has done a tremendous amount of work to get this done.”
Captains from each LHS fall athletic team presented awards to each Fields Committee member, plus Crawford and Dunphy. The engraved awards were in the shape of smiley faces and the inscription on the plaque read, “Thanks for putting a smile on the faces of thousands of Lynnfield children.”
The captains also presented smiley face trophies to Lynnfield Field Support Committee members Steve Connolly and Rich Sjoberg. Bourque said Connolly and Sjoberg launched a grassroots campaign to get people to support the fields project.
“This (project) wouldn’t have happened without these folks,” said Bourque.
The fields committee thanked the 2012 Board of Selectmen consisting of the late Al Merritt, Bob MacKendrick and Dave Nelson for appointing the current Fields Committee in the spring of 2012.
Bourque personally thanked Town Administrator Bill Gustus as well.
“I served a number of years on the Board of Selectmen and when I got off in 2012, I said to Bill ‘my biggest regret is I haven’t solved the fields problem yet,’” said Bourque. “And Bill said, ‘before I retire, we will solve that problem.’ He is a man of his word.”
Before the ribbon cutting took place, Crawford presented a plaque to Bourque from the selectmen. The plaque recognized the town’s appreciation for Bourque’s “countless hours” and “tireless work ethic” to improve the town’s athletic facilities.
Additionally, Cleary gave golden tickets to the Fields Committee, equaling a lifetime pass to every LHS athletic team event. Cleary said every project needs a leader and said Bourque is the epitome of a leader.
After the speeches concluded, Bourque cut the ribbon, officially beginning a new era for the town’s athletes. Afterward, local officials and townspeople celebrated the historic evening by watching the Pioneers pummel the Royals 42-0.