Sacred Heart Greenwich Proposes Synthetic Turf Putting Green on 109-Acre King St Campus

A new application has been submitted to Greenwich Planning & Zoning from the private girls school, Convent of the Sacred Heart, who propose to construct a synthetic turf putting green and outdoor woodchip classroom with nature observation areas on the southeast portion of their 109-acre tax exempt property on King Street.

According to the application narrative from the school, the putting green would be situated just north of the school’s existing natural turf athletic field and would give student athletes an area to practice select golf shots when the club they use is closed for events or weather related reasons.

The putting green location, about 280 feet from the rear property line shared with Fairview Country Club, was selected because it is already mostly cleared of trees vegetation, and is already disturbed since it is used to store mulch, dirt, stone and other materials.

Other potential locations on campus had been in the jurisdiction of town Wetlands agency or would have impacted existing athletic fields or future facilities.

The surface of the putting green is proposed to be synthetic turf, rather than natural turf for ease of maintenance and to allow play earlier in the spring and immediately after weather events.

Per the narrative, to properly maintain a natural grass putting green would require specialized equipment and additional time as well as irrigation to maintain.

Further, they noted that pesticides are not allowed on the school campus, making maintenance of natural grass a further challenge.

The surface would be infilled with a small amount of sand rather than traditional coconut husks, coated sands or other rubber products as the field will not be used for contact sports.

To minimize impacts from runoff from the putting green, a rain garden is proposed along the eastern edge to treat it before releasing it through a level spreader.

The prposal includes a 50 foot wide habitat enhancement plan between the rain garden and adjacent wetlands.

The application has also been sent to Wetlands for the putting green as well as an outdoor classroom, which does not require final site plan or special permit. The outdoor classroom consists of woodchips and stone seating built into the hillside and they propose a wood boardwalk with railings and gates across the adjacent wetlands and pond. They also propose do do habitat enhancement around the outdoor classroom and tennis courts.

The school also has a pending application with the town for tennis court expansion.

Some background on the school, per the application: The school has operated the pre-K through grade 12 independent school for girls on the campus since 1945. The campus has a main academic building which has had several additions over the years. The campus also features an observatory, a gymnasium, indoor pool, outdoor athletic fields including playing fields, soccer field, tennis courts and synthetic turf fields. The school also offers staff housing on campus. Neighbors to the north and east are Fairview Country Club and Audubon conservation land and Greenwich Woods to the south. To the west is Laurelton Nursing home and Brunswick School. The campus has an on site wastewater treatment facility and public water.

The application has yet to be scheduled for a P&Z commission meeting. Stay tuned.