Yarrow sports field will open this fall . . . they promise!
When the brand-new, rebuilt Yarrow community school opened its doors in August 2012, the sports fields out back were one of the few things left needing attention.
A year later, the school district found itself still running into issues with the fields; while one section was ready, another wouldn’t be available in time for the beginning of the 2013/14 school year as planned.
“The district has recognized that it would be better to do more work on that field,” principal Nathan Ngi-eng told the Times in spring of 2013.
Yet another year later, that portion of the field is still not ready—although the school board estimates it will be available in June and “absolutely” finished by September.
“The Yarrow [field] we’d hoped to have done by May, so we’re a wee bit behind but not by much,” Chilliwack school district secretary-treasurer Gerry Slykhuis told the Times this week.
He notes that while the fields weren’t completely ready for this school year, Yarrow has gravel all-weather field for the kids to use, as well as the option to bus to other Chilliwack school fields.
“Any time you replace an existing school on the same site there’s obviously a bit of disruption for the kids,” Slykhuis explains.
The continuing issue of the field comes into sharp focus every spring with the school’s annual sports day.
“They haven’t had a sports field there for four years at Yarrow community school, and they’re not going to have one again this year for sports day,” says parent Rich Geschke, whose daughter attends the school.
“My kid’s in grade four and she’s been at that school her whole time and they never get to play in the field… it’s kind of unfair that the kids have to go four years at their new school without a sports field.”
Geschke explains that in the absence of a field, the children use the gravel all-weather field for activities or the nearby path along the dike for runs—neither of which are particularly forgiving surfaces to trip and fall on.
However, Slykhuis emphasizes the Yarrow school’s fields haven’t been usable since even before the 2012 rebuild, and the situation is improving—no matter how slowly.
“Even before the new school was built, not even the municipality would use those fields,” he says. “They just weren’t that good.”