Late Starting Construction Displaces SportsFriday, February 10, 2012 By Cydney Rhines
Returning to a renovated building after spending almost two years away is exciting for most, unless you’re an athlete on a spring sports team at Mays. Atlanta Public Schools is updating the sports facilities at all of its high schools with state-of-the-art artificial Field Turf fields. At Mays, the construction on the field began shortly after students returned this semester from the old Archer High building. Some are questioning the timing of the construction starting after students returned to Mays rather than at some point near the start of the school’s year-and-a-half renovation. Spring athletes and coaches now find it difficult to conduct soccer and track and field because of the lack of space. Each day, students participating in soccer and track are catching buses to hold practice at other locations. “I feel that this is poor planning on the district’s part,” said athletic director and boys track and field coach Darrell Hayes. “We have been displaced for 18 months and while we weren’t here, the field renovation could have been taking place then,” Hayes added. The track teams are now practicing at Young Middle School just up Benjamin E. Mays Drive, and the soccer teams are practicing at the newly re-opened Lakewood Stadium in Southeast Atlanta. Some athletes especially wondered why the renovation of the field came in the middle of spring conditioning, which is a major part of success in any sport. “I think it’s ridiculous that they waited until we moved back into the building to begin working on the field; it’s a huge inconvenience for everyone,” said Mykia Hurston, a senior on the girls soccer team. The track and field at Mays is also a community hot-spot where people of all ages generally come to work out on the track. APS is in the process of upgrading the athletic facilities at all of its high schools. In the past year, facilities have been upgraded at North Atlanta, Maynard Jackson, Therrell, Washington and Grady. Field turf, which is the same surface used in the Georgia Dome, costs less to maintain in the long run.