With the halting of construction on the new Lower School (see Ashley Myers’ story entitled Accelerate Pace Campaign Cancelled), Pace will be beginning a new construction project to better the community. This new project will be the renovation of the back field to convert it from grass to turf.
This change has been long in the making, as the immense amount of rain Atlanta receives annually makes it difficult to keep the field from turning to mud. “Every day we have to go down early and make sure we get the best spot on the field before the other teams come down,” said boys varsity soccer head coach Lucas Moreno.
The mud also can be slippery and impair practices. “Sometimes I don’t go as hard because I’m worried that I’m going to re-injure my ankle,” said sophomore lacrosse player Patrick Marr.
The conditions of the field even cause some teams to opt to have practice at the Riverview Complex. Even though Riverview can be a quick 20-minute drive on a Saturday morning, in rush hour traffic on weekdays it can take teams 45 minutes or longer to make the trip. “I feel like I spend more time driving to Riverview than I have for homework by the time I get home,” said junior Gus Thomas.
The new field will also have a full-sized track surrounding it so that the cross country and track teams can utilize the space as well. “A lot of days we have to practice on the shortened indoor track which really is not the same as a full-length track,” said freshman Emmy Mininberg.
Pace’s administrative team has weighed in on why they decided to make the change. “Pace’s student body consists of a high percentage of hardworking student athletes, so we hoped to make a change that could really help out these kids,” said Head of School Fred Assaf. “We have not had many big renovations for athletics since the construction of the Riverview complex, so I was very happy to see that we were continuing to better our facilities,” said Athletic Director Troy Baker.
Possibly the biggest news to come from the field renovation announcement is the fact that it will be able to host events for lacrosse, soccer, girls flag football, cross country and track. However, due to parking limitations, football games will not be held on the new field. By putting a huge wall of stands where the current forest is, in between the lower field and tennis courts, fans can cheer on their respective teams.
Both soccer and lacrosse have had low fan turnout the past couple of seasons, most likely because going to a game involves going to Riverview on a weekday, but now students can just meander over from school to catch the games. “I am so excited now I can catch even more games than I did before,” said junior Hayden Schwartz.
“Hopefully, we can get a very large crowd to come out to our games next year, especially Westminster and Lovett,” said senior soccer player Lenox Herman. Pace continues to renovate the campus to make the lives of students and faculty better, so be sure to look out for more changes to come.