New turf at Washburn School in Auburn

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Washburn Elementary School Principal Andrew Bard looks at Elliot Dowd, 13, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new artificial turf playing field at the school in Auburn on Thursday. Dowd wrote a letter to the Saco-based business, NET Sports Group, stating that students had no grass to play on, only a rough area of dirt. NET donated $100,000 toward the $175,000 project. “Elliott wanted to leave something behind,” said his mother, Tina Dowd. “He had a couple of rough years here and he ended up turning it around,” she said. Elliott Dowd is now a seventh-grader at Auburn Middle School. He said he is particularly interested in the school drama program. Washburn physical education teacher Josh Fortier said the new turf field is super for gym class. “We used to play on dirt, so there were lots of slipping falls. This is great,” Fortier said. 

Washburn Elementary fourth-graders play hopscotch at the new artificial turf field in Auburn on Thursday.

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