Academy, Eldredge & Swift Construction Updates

by | Jun 11, 2024

Above: Part of the plan for the new courts at Academy Field is to make them more easily accessible, including this new walkway from the parking lot to the courts.

The Town of East Greenwich is currently in the process of updating three community areas: Academy Field, Eldredge Field, and Swift Community Center. The outdoor projects are funded primarily by a 2022 $500,000 state Department of Environmental Grant – $100,000 for Academy Field courts and $400,000 for the work at Eldredge, with $25,000 and $100,000 local matches, respectively. 

Academy Field is farthest along, likely ready for use in mid to late July, according to Andy Wade, community services director. The two former basketball courts are being remodeled into two pickleball courts and a new basketball court. 

Throughout April and May the courts were grated, leveled, and laid with a binder coat of asphalt. There was a delay in receiving the basketball hoops and shade structure, but they arrived last week. Next week contractors are slated to install the final furnishings and put down a top layer of asphalt, resulting in a 90 percent finished product. The surface of the courts must then cure for several weeks before it can be painted. 

“I don’t anticipate the noise to be an issue, considering there will be the same activities conducted on the property as there have been for many years,” said Wade, in response to concern over disturbances to the neighborhood. 

The pickleball courts will be replacing the court closest to the access road. The basketball court will have two normal hoops and two side hoops, to retain the same amount of hoops as the area originally had. 

“The pickleball courts are expected to complement the senior center, an age-appropriate addition to the park relative to the population spending a fair amount of time here,” said Wade. Part of the project is an addition of a walkway from the parking lot to the courts for easier access.

A diagram of the new pickleball courts, right, and the basketball court currently under construction at Academy Field.

The work on Eldredge Field is more comprehensive. So far, a shade pavilion has been installed at the part of the field closest to Cliff Street. Eldredge will also get new basketball courts in the area of the existing Cliff Street courts, with new court lights. The softball diamond will be shifted 60 feet to the west with a new infield, backstop, and dugout. This is partly to bring the field closer to the set of concrete bleachers off 1st Avenue, built as a World War two memorial, to better utilize them. Moving the field also provides room for an ADA walking path to be built around the park, which would connect all of its components. New decorative fencing will be installed along First Avenue. 

The town received bids on the project Monday, though only one was qualified, according to Wade. Negotiations are in progress with the vendor to work out an offer within the budget. The design process has been started with the project’s landscape architect for the basketball courts and Wade hopes to get bid documents out in the next month. The timeline of construction on the field depends on upcoming negotiations, and could be this fall or in spring 2025. 

The plan for Swift Community Center is still in the early stages with the overall goal to add from 1,500 to 2,000 square feet of classroom space for additional education programs and activities. Earlier ideas had been a larger expansion of Swift but a recreation easement on Academy Field makes any westward addition impossible. The only real space to push out on would be the area closer to the playground.  

“While we would like to avoid disturbing the existing playground, we recognize that there may be a need for relocation or redesign if it becomes necessary,” Wade said. “In such a case, we will ensure that there is adequate space to accommodate a new or updated play area.” 

He added, “One of the primary motivations for this expansion is to better serve the growing senior population in East Greenwich. The Swift Community Center’s central location, accessibility, and single-floor layout make it an ideal venue for senior programs and activities.”

The project is funded through the federal Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF), which awards grants intended to improve community centers. East Greenwich got $668,523 and there is no town match requirement. 

Architecture firm StudioJAED (which has also been working with the school district on its building plans), has been hired to design plans covering the renovation and potential addition. After conceptual drawings are conceived, public meetings will be held, where Wade encourages the community to engage.

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Amanda Galmiche
Amanda Galmiche
June 12, 2024 8:05 am

Thank you for sharing updates on these projects. It seems like they will be beautiful and functional when finished. I hope the expansion of the Swift Center won’t impact the shade tree at playground or the shaded area for summer concert series in the field. These spaces currently benefit a great deal from their current locations which have much needed shade trees which provide relief from the hot summer afternoon sun.


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