Croydon Hall Synthetic Turf Field Groundbreaking  From left are: Board of Education Members Michael Donlon, Danielle Walsh, Sue Griffin, Andrew Nicholes and Vincent Brand, President James Cody, Superintendent William George, Vice-President Bob Banta and member Ernest Donnelly

MIDDLETOWN – The Middletown Board of Education and Township Committee gathered at Croydon Hall to break ground on a new synthetic turf field.

“It’s great to see construction of our latest synthetic turf field get underway. This field will be an invaluable community resource for the township, the school district and the local sports community,” said Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger, Ph.D.

The existing football field will be upgraded to a synthetic multi-sport version where football, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse and other sports can be played. Construction is slated to begin this month. While the project is weather dependent, the field is expected to be ready for the 2017 spring season, he said.

The new Croydon Hall field will be similar to one constructed at Nut Swamp School in 2013 as part of a shared-services agreement struck between Middletown Township and the Public School District. That agreement includes joint field maintenance and periodic upgrades to township and school athletic fields. The entities also share vehicle maintenance, plumbing and electrical services as part of the cost-saving pact, said Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante.

The field is also the home field for the Middletown Athletic Club Eagles football program. Once the upgrade is complete, the school district will be able to utilize the new multi-purpose field for other sports such as soccer. The township will continue to handle permitting for the field, he said.

The $1.8 million field upgrade at Croydon Hall will be offset by a $201,000 Monmouth County Open Space Grant awarded to the township. The project is funded through recreation user fees, said Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante.

Croydon Hall is located at 900 Leonardville Road in Leonardo next to Bayshore Middle School and Leonardo Elementary School. In addition to the coming multi-purpose field, this recreation hub is home to two baseball fields, a softball field, an indoor gym, an indoor multi-purpose room and the township’s senior center.