Pinkerton Academy is clearing land near the football field to make way for new girls athletic fields. The existing girls fields are the site of a proposed building that will replace 40-year-old portable classrooms on campus.

DERRY | Pinkerton Academy is cutting down trees and grading land near the sports fields off By-pass 28 to make way for new girls field hockey and softball fields.

It's the first step toward a new building project, because the existing fields, near the vocational building on campus, are on the site where the building will eventually go. Pinkerton, the high school for Derry, Chester and Hampstead, plans to replace the 40-year-old portable classrooms with a new building.

Headmaster Mary Anderson said the preliminary site work that is being done now not only helps prepare for the fields, but also for future sports field work. To build the girls softball and field hockey fields, the academy needs to remove earth to grade the property, but Anderson said she didn't want to throw away good fill that might be needed later for future field work that is in the school's long-term plans.

Tonight, the academy's field project goes before the Conservation Commission for review and is slated to go to the Planning Board in June. Anderson said she hopes to begin work on the fields in July.

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