How do you suppose members of the Facilities Team—who take such amazing care of Pingry's fields and grounds, making them look immaculate—reacted when they saw Yankee Stadium's field, up close and personal?
Reassured and encouraged.
"We walked on the greatest field in sports history. When we consider the everyday struggles that we face at Pingry with our World Cup Field and other facilities, the Yankees' crew faces the same, exact stuff," says Mike Janes, a groundskeeper at the Basking Ridge Campus for nearly 25 years. "We're on the right track."
Along with Mr. Janes, "we" included his Basking Ridge co-workers Anthony Gagliardi P '22 (over 25 years at Pingry) and Joe Parent, as well as Short Hills Facilities Technician Jennifer Johnston, all of whom maintain Pingry's fields and have helped bring about dramatic improvements in recent years. During Storr Tractor Company's "field day" for town and school employees and landscapers in August, Mr. Janes, Mr. Gagliardi, Mr. Parent, and Ms. Johnston visited Yankee Stadium to observe how that field is maintained, including equipment and best practices.
"That field is alwaysin use [baseball, football, soccer, concerts], and they have so many resources and personnel to take care of it—two shifts of 12 people each for one field," Mr. Gagliardi says. "Yet, you see their challenges, even though they can control moisture through underwater pipes and they can cover the field. Our endeavor is entirely different because we have to deal with the weather and other issues, and Pingry has four employees who routinely work on 10 fields [encompassing clay-based, grass, and synthetic turf] in Basking Ridge. We do a pretty darn good job."
Highly complimentary of the Facilities Team is Chief Financial and Operating Officer Olaf Weckesser P '25, who ensures that the team has the tools to keep the fields in top condition year-round.
"Their effort and professionalism are tremendous," he says, pointing out that, over the years, members of the Facilities Team have frequently gone above and beyond. "Anyone who has gardened or tried to grow plants knows that you need to take pride in what you do. We are very fortunate to have highly skilled and dedicated people who can judge how wet the ground is and how healthy the grass is, and know what steps to take to quickly remedy situations that may arise. Our entire outdoor team takes it personally that the grass grows well, that it's green, and that the whole campus always looks its best."
What were the biggest takeaways from the day? Read more in the Fall 2018 issue of The Pingry Review.