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Smoyer’s $1m Donation to Fix Athletic Needs

The Andover Athletic Department received a generous “Christmas present” of $1 million from Stanley Smoyer. Mr. Smoyer requested that his donation go directly towards renovating the drainage system of the Boys Varsity Soccer field, which floods often. “For years, now, the water problems have interfered with practices and forced us to cancel games. The varsity teams deserve to have a field they can be proud of, so we couldn’t be more pleased about this extraordinary gift,” said Athletic Director Martha Fenton, according to Director of Public Information Steve Porter. Instructor in Math and Boys’ Varsity Soccer Coach Bill Scott said to Mr. Porter, “It is our goal and dream to create the best natural grass field of any New England prep school. The Smoyer family gift will make this dream come true.” Mr. Smoyer donated the gift in honor of his two sons, David ’59 and Bill ’63. Both were soccer captains at Andover and went on to captain at Dartmouth University in 1963 and 1967, respectively. Following his graduation from Dartmouth, Bill Smoyer entered the marines and was killed during the Tet Offensive on Vietnam in 1968. “It meant a lot to my parents that Billy and I were at Andover. My dad is delighted to support PA and the soccer program. I’m really pleased about the gift, and I know he is too,” David Smoyer said to Mr. Porter. The school will name the soccer field “The Smoyer Family Field” in their honor. Mr. Smoyer’s generosity will facilitate the commencement of Phase I of the tri-fold Athletic Fields Master Plan, which aims to renovate the Andover athletic facilities most in need of improvements. Phase I encompasses the soccer field renovation and the installation of synthetic turf in Phelps Stadium, the home of Andover football. The Board of Trustees is still deliberating over Phases II and III of the plan. While Phase I will cost $2.5 million altogether, the soccer field renovation alone will amount to $1.25 million. In a difficult process, the entire field will be stripped of its soil and all subsurface material two to three feet below the topsoil, while a new drainage system is installed and the rubber track surrounding the field is protected. Though the field’s low location and substandard soil have necessitated numerous minor operations over the past 10 years to fix drainage problems, none of these has proved successful. Director of Facilities Michael Williams hopes the Board of Trustees will approve construction plans in their January meeting so that he may begin to obtain the necessary permits. If the plan is accepted, renovation will begin this summer. However, if the plan does not pass, construction on the fields will be pushed back to 2007. The procedure itself will take several months, and the field must remain fallow for two growing seasons following the renovation in order for the grass to fully mature. Mr. Smoyer also recently gave $4.3 million to his alma mater, Dartmouth University, from which he graduated in 1934. The donation will help pay for a new intercollegiate soccer facility in honor of former Dartmouth soccer coach and administrator Alden Burnham, who worked with Mr. Smoyer’s sons on the Dartmouth soccer team in the 1960s.