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AYER — The Athletic Boosters volunteer group, which holds fund-raisers to help cover the cost of sports programs at the Ayer High School (AHS), is set to have a softball field built as soon as weather permits.

According to Jim Pinard, president of the boosters, work will start as soon as the ground dries. The plan is to build the softball field near the gymnasium at AHS. The C. Donell Homes company was hired to clear and level the new field.

The main obstacle is a boulder that needs to be removed with a jackhammer, according to Pinard. Otherwise the area is level, and once it is cleared and graded a fence will be built to enclose the it.

Pinard plans retire from the boosters this year, and said he will be glad to see such a large project accomplished before he leaves. Pinard has been in the boosters for the past six years, and mentioned other ways the boosters help the Ayer sports programs.

The Athletic Boosters run award banquets, and supply trophies, jackets, athletic clothing and exercise equipment to the school. The boosters also give out roughly four scholarships per year.

“We try to give them out to the best participants,” Pinard said.

The boosters have also helped to fund the expansion of the lower field by the school. They also donated funds for renovations for the high school’s football field.

One fund-raiser held by the group each year is a nine-hole golf tournament. The boosters also hold raffles, and work with local businesses to raise money.

Last year the boosters raised $20,000 through a panther card program with the help of local businesses. This year the boosters will not be running the panther card fund-raiser because some members of the boosters were unhappy with program organizers who kept half of the money as their fee. However, Pinard said raising $10,000 is better than nothing.

Pinard also stressed the importance of keeping athletic programs available.

“If you keep kids in sports, it keeps them off the streets and off drugs,” said Pinard.

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