We Voted it, We Got it

The heat directed at the school’s new athletic development simply isn’t justified

By Tate evans

When DHS students walked into the school after winter break, many of them were surprised about what had happened to the school’s skyline. While plenty had heard of the bond and how we were getting new sinks, it was apparently so long ago that everyone forgot about the new developments being built right next door. Surprised and feeling not consulted, some people understandably disagreed with the school’s decision to chop down a section of forest near the parking lots to make way for the football fields. In fact, some questioned even the reasoning as to why the school even needed new sporting fields in the first place.

All those concerns are fine and well, of course, and it’s the responsibility of every student to be knowledgeable and concerned about the impact we’re having on the environment around us. Keeping this in mind, however, there is a clear difference between un-notified, sloppy action and thought out, responsible planning, with the latter of which being exactly what we got after winter break.

Let’s start at the beginning. Many months ago, those with the power to kill or move forward on this bond were given quite clear knowledge of what exactly they were voting on. Besides being told in writing of the planned development, they were even shown an artist’s rendering of what the school would look like with the new sports fields, with the area depicted covering the spot where development is occurring today. It’s quite difficult to make the argument that nobody knew when those who cared enough about the bond to show up to the vote were provided with more than adequate materials detailing the proposed changes. At the end of the day, it’s fair to question if we needed the fields, but to question the validity and say no one was told is misleading at best.

Even on the topic that the fields were needed, however, it most certainly appears that they are. At Dexter High School today, there’s only one field properly equipped to run fully fledged sporting events, and that’s Al Ritt. While just one field may have been just fine a decade ago, in the face of ever-growing sports programs and an ever-increasing importance being placed on team sports at DHS, having just one field at our disposal isn’t realistic. In Dexter, we have football, field hockey, track and field, soccer, and many other sporting events at other schools in the district that need a field like Al Ritt to play on. Very often, sporting schedules on limited ground can conflict. When schedules conflict, it’s the players who lose out. Games get shifted, events are held at astoundingly late times, and practices have to be held on less than preferred grounds, all because we have but one true field. With these deficiencies, it’s quite clear we need new grounds.

What is most confusing, however, is that people who, until this point, seemed relatively inactive about environmental issues in any capacity leapt at the chance to decry the that which happened in their own backyard. The same people whose phones run off precious metals strip mined in Africa, the same people using single-use styrofoam trays instead of lunch boxes in the cafeteria, and the same people who drive gasoline-powered cars to school are the same people who are upset about the trees.

Understandably, it’s hard to speak up about island nations in the South Pacific disappearing under the waves from carbon emissions or the ever growing Great Pacific garbage patch when you personally are not impacted by your contribution to them. But we all use plastic water bottles, use air conditioning when unnecessary, forget to recycle: things that, when added up, represent problems of far greater importance and impact than the loss of a few dozen trees. To be someone who cares about the environment is not to overreact at small scale changes around us, but to do your part to chip away at the larger issues that are far more dangerous. But if people are more shocked by an uncompleted construction project than by a patch of garbage more than a million square miles wide floating in the Pacific, the issues that are truly worthy of discussion will simply get lost in all the noise.