Ground-breaking for new field set to begin in July

Molly House, Staff reporter

Weed-strewn and pocked with holes, the Cleveland field is finally getting a makeover. Groundbreaking for a new field is set to begin in mid-July with a completion deadline of late September. The new field will feature a turf practice field, a three-lane, 400-meter, rubberized track, batting cages and a turf warm up area.

The changes will be immense for students and athletes. No longer will teams have to travel to Van Asselt or other schools for practice, and the addition of a storage facility will free up space in the gym being used to house football equipment.

The boys’ soccer team will be able to hold games at the new field in spring 2019.

Athletic director Chris Bryant is excited about what the new facilities will do for the athletic program.

“With the close proximity of the new field, football and soccer players won’t have to be shuttled back and forth to Van Asselt every day,” he said. “So really, it’s just cutting down on the travel we have to do just to go to practice.”

The effects of the new field will be far reaching. Less travel time to practice means athletes will be able to finish practice earlier, get home earlier, and have more time to do focus on schoolwork.

The changes will not only bolster the school’s sports programs, but also is predicted to increase student spirit and participation.

“I think just taking an eyesore and really beautifying it, will give us some pride,” said Principal George Breland. “Cleveland is one of the only high schools who hasn’t had an updated field in the recent years.”

While the new field will be a great addition to the athletic programs at Cleveland, it will still mostly serve as a practice facility.

“We won’t have a ton of games down there, we might be able to do girls’ soccer … but it’s not big enough to host football games or track meets or anything like that,” Bryant said. “The field itself is big enough, but it comes down to seating; we don’t have enough seating available to host games.”

Now that movement is being made in getting the field done, the question on some people’s mind is: what took so long?

“I think a lot of it is communication. It’s an interesting, a unique situation because part of the field is owned by the school district and part of it is owned by the parks department,” Bryant said.

The money for the new field has been available for some time, but miscommunication between the city and Seattle Public Schools over who was going to pay for what held up the construction. After KIRO Radio’s “Ron and Don Show” did a story about the damaged field, public outcry sped up the progress.

“I would say that [the “Ron and Don Show”] helped push the city more than the district … that has helped give publicity, put light on it. It was going to get done, but I think it’s just sped up,” Breland said.

Breland doesn’t place blame on anyone in particular. He’s just happy the new field is finally happening.

“I would imagine [the city’s] priorities were not our field; they had bigger priorities,” he said. “But ultimately it’s getting done, and the students will be able to enjoy a beautiful field.”