New fields at North Country Union Junior High

DERBY, Vt. (WCAX) Students at North Country Union Junior High School are looking forward to brand new playing fields. Construction on the baseball and softball fields started more than a week ago, thanks to support from local donors and businesses.

"It seems like the community cares for us and it's able for us to have fun on our own field," eighth grade baseball player, Jordan Beloin said.

The fields were the idea of Middle School Athletic Director, Christiane Brown, who had her plan approved by the town's school board.

"Sports were a big part of my lifestyle growing up and I think it's important for us to have kids be a part of a team," Brown said.

Currently, teams are traveling 12 minutes to play their home games at Gradner Park in Newport.

"It took more time that we could have spent practicing," eighth grade softball player, Kyrsten Lathe said.

Brown says The rotary club of Newport made a very generous financial gift towards the cause and local business like, Hilliker's trucking and Champlain valley equipment donated time and tools. Diamond Turf is responsible for building the fields. Owner Chip Stevens is an alumni of North Country Union Junior High.

"When you can work on the school you've graduated from, it feels a little bit special," Stevens said. "It's cool."

Stevens recalls playing little league baseball as a kid on an abandoned field behind the school. The backstop is the only think left. Stevens plans to re-purposing the backstop as dugouts for the new baseball and softball fields.

"We're less than a year later, we've broken ground and we're building two, what will be beautiful fields. We're excited to be doing it."

Brown hopes that at least one of the fields will be ready in time for a home game to be played there this season.