Stallings elementary school welcomes new multi-purpose sports field
After more than a year of waiting and preparation, students of Antioch Elementary finally have a multi-purpose sports field for free play. “Aqua-Duck Field,” was dedicated Tuesday, Sept. 20 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by a giant game of kickball.
The field’s transformation is the brainchild of Peggy Rishe, vice president of Antioch’s Parent-Teacher Organization. Rishe and other parents saw the field, previously a “moonscape” comprised of rocky, hard clay, as a dangerous place for the children to play.
School officials agreed and knew something had to be done.
“Kids were coming in with scraped-up knees, and it was really beginning to be a problem,” Antioch principal Karen Dillon said.
The plan to convert the field into a soft, green Bermuda lawn began in August of last year when Rishe, along with school officials and other parent volunteers began to gain support needed to get the ball rolling. Funds were raised last year to finance the field’s makeover.
Getting water to irrigate the field was the biggest challenge. Because of county regulations, Antioch could not tap into the school system’s water. The school eventually turned to Aqua-Duck Water Transport for irrigation.
John Dippert, owner of the company, has two children who attend Antioch. Because of a shared passion to see the children have a safe play field, Dippert worked closely with the school to provide affordable irrigation, which included pumping over 18,000 gallons during the first week.
Shaun Crooks, owner of Legacy Landscaping in Indian Trail, also pitched in, providing at-cost soil preparation for the field. On Aug. 27, 84 volunteers donated a total of 300 service hours in a combined effort to lay 27,216 square feet of sod in one day. Parents, students, and faculty from Antioch, as well as volunteers taking part in the United Way Day of Caring and other student clubs throughout the county, laid 2,916 rolls of sod during the course of about three hours.
“There were lots of kids out here, helping as much as they could, and watching,” said Rishe. “It’s a good message to send to the kids. Set a goal, work hard, and your biggest dreams can come true.”
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, parents, students and faculty gathered together as Rishe, Dillon, Dippert, and others celebrated a year of hard work and a job well done. The kickball game, which saw fourth and fifth graders take on the adults, was Rishe’s idea. “I wanted the kids to be able to run around and play,” Rishe said. “It was a perfect way to introduce the new field.”