With spring in the air and a great weekend ahead, we’re sure many area residents will be looking forward to getting out and playing.
Hopefully, it won’t be long before students at Reynolds High School can do it in their own stadium.
After more than a decade of campaigning, fundraising, and arm-twisting, the members of Home Field Advantage, a nonprofit formed by a group of Reynolds parents in 2020, deserve our kudos. They fought long and hard to bring an athletic stadium to Reynolds – the only public high school in our system without a home court – therefore, without home-court advantage – and now, as evidenced by a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, it looks like they succeeded.
Although beginning to be useful as a grass training ground, the area near the Wiley Middle School gymnasium and an auxiliary Reynolds gymnasium would eventually develop into a stadium in its own right, with a capacity of 2 500 seats for spectators, which can be used by the high school and by Wiley Middle School. In between, an essential retaining wall, lights, restrooms, concession stand, press room and bleachers will be added. School officials hope to see the first football games at the stadium in the fall of 2023.
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The field and stadium will also be available for girls’ soccer and boys’ and girls’ lacrosse athletes, who could play games there as early as spring 2023. Eventually, 16 teams will have access to the stadium.
The stadium will also be available for other groups, such as ROTC and the high school group. Sir Paul McCartney has yet to play there.
It will be called the Mr. Douglas Crater Field and Stadium, in honor of a longtime football coach.
Parents had been pushing for the stadium, as we mentioned, for quite a while. As things stand, many Reynolds student-athletes travel off campus for games and practices, creating challenges for some athletes who may not have reliable transportation – and for all those who have to invest travel time in their schedule.
There was also something a little infuriating about not having your own facility when all the other schools had them.
Another issue was that initially all funds were to be raised through private donations rather than through investments in the school system, even though other high schools, such as Mount Tabor and Glenn, received school system funds for l stadium improvement.
Some potential donors said they wanted to see a financial commitment from the school board before participating.
“It was a big sticking point,” Stan Dean, a spokesperson for the band, told the Journal. “Why does our stadium have to be entirely privately funded? »
All things considered, it was a bit unfair.
But: past. The school system eventually agreed to pitch in, nearly $900,000 in September and $1.2 million in February for the stadium’s retaining wall.
There’s still a measly $1.2 million to raise to reach the $8 million needed to complete construction. But thanks to numerous private donations — including a very generous $2.5 million gift from Keith and Cindy Waddell, Reynolds alumni who now live in California — everything looks shiny.
Building the stadium was by no means an easy task. There was some friction between neighbors who supported him and others who did not.
Some critics of the plan did not like to see part of Hanes Park – which essentially shares space with the school – developed. Some noted the lack of parking. And some said a sports stadium shouldn’t be a school’s top priority. They said academics and the liberal arts are more essential to quality education. They are not wrong.
Feelings were strong on both sides.
But athletics is important for the development of children. In fact, athletic endeavors, with their lessons in discipline, practice, and accomplishment, lend themselves to academic success – especially if the grade level is required to participate in sports.
We hope there are no lingering hard feelings. Everyone involved now has the opportunity to teach their children a lesson in – dare we say “sportsmanship”? How about grace. The acquisition of the stadium provides, unequivocally, what we call “the thrill of victory” for the student-athletes of Reynolds and Wiley. Let’s share their joy. We hope this will help them excel.