The first shovelfuls of dirt were turned over Friday for the construction of a multi-purpose athletic field and a softball field on the eight-acre AP Farm property, across the street from John Jay High School.
District officials, students and parents joined together to thank local philanthropists Adam Rose and Peter McQuillan,who gave the $1 million property to the district in July 2009 as a gift on the condition that it be used for the fields.
Michael Jumper, Katonah-Lewisboro's interim schools superintendent, welcomed approximately 50 school community members and introduced two John Jay musical groups, the Rolling Tones and the Noteables, who sang the national anthem and later performed a song each.
Jumper also thanked Sandra Rose, mother of Adam Rose, for attending and presented her with a bouquet of flowers.
In his remarks, Adam Rose thanked the community for making the project happen.
"To have the vision of paying the price now to have something that lasts for generations is unfortunately so lacking today...you see so many politicians make short-sighted decisions because of personal interests or political agendas," he said. "It's very nice of you to thank us, but we turn it back to you...the fact that the money is being invested will benefit the community for a very, very long time."
The funding for the project comes from a $3.15 million public referendum that was approved by district residents in December 2009. The vote moved the money to a capital reserve fund for the purpose of building the fields, improving the existing baseball field, renovating high school arts spaces and other improvements.
The multi-purpose field, scheduled to be completed by September, will be a rectangular field with an artificial turf so it can be used for soccer, lacrosse and field hockey. The softball field will be made up of natural grass.
The school board approved in March to award a $2,497,000 contract to Landscape Unlimited of Somers to build the fields, and a $107,447 contract to Southeast Mechanical Corp. of Brewster, for the in-school improvements.
Check out the video for highlights of Friday's ceremonies.