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Officials Start Renovations on Staten Island Tech Athletic Field

By Nicholas Rizzi | October 31, 2013 3:07pm
 Councilman James Oddo joined Staten Island Technical High School staff to break ground on the $7 million renovations to the athletic field.
Staten Island Tech Athletic Field Groundbreaking
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NEW DORP — Staten Island Technical High School broke ground on its $7 million athletic field renovation Thursday morning.

Councilman James Oddo joined the New Dorp specialized high school's principal and staff to mark the start the project, which will add new turf baseball and football fields surrounded by a track.

"It's moments like this that make us continue to fight on to do all the other stuff," Oddo said. "This is a great day."

Currently, the field requires constant upkeep and the condition is so bad the soccer team can't play on it, said Michael Grippo, varsity baseball coach at the school for the past 10 years.

"It's a constant daily thing, a battle," he said. "At this point, with the new field coming in, we can throw the rakes out, we can throw the shovels out."

The city announced funding for the renovation last year, which came from the Department of Education, the City Council and Borough President James Molinaro.

Grippo said he pushed for the new fields when the family of Eric Colligan, 15, a football and baseball player for the school who died in 2011 in a car accident, wanted to get repairs made in his memory.

His mother, Colleen Colella, said Colligan would come home from practice and games with scrapes complaining about the field.

"His knees were all scraped up and his arms. [He would say] 'oh this horrible field,'" she said.

Colligan's stepfather, Nicholas Colella, said he didn't expect the renovations for the field to be this intensive when he first reached out to Oddo, but was glad to be at the groundbreaking.

"It's an exciting day for us,"  he said.

Construction on the new field is expected to be completed in 20 months.