Fort Hamilton High School’s athletic field is getting back on track!
The School Construction Authority will replace the school’s football field and track, which have not been updated since 2001. The push to upgrade the facilities has been years in the making, and was led by the students themselves, according to their principal.
“The kids really made a big push, it was the Student Council initiative in 2015 that really pushed it forward and did all the petitioning,” said Kaye Houlihan, who added that field turf typically needs to be replaced about once every decade so that it doesn’t become a safety hazard. “They sent pieces of the field to politicians, so that’s how it got some much-needed attention.”
The surfaces of the track and field will be entirely replaced, and the existing goal posts and perimeter fences will be updated. And the field will also receive a brand-new scoreboard as part of the renovation. Houlihan said that construction is slated to begin around February, and that the project should take about a year to complete.
Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) allocated $2.8 million to fund the $5.5 million project, which was close to his heart given his ties to the school, according to a spokesman.
“This is his alma mater, and he felt very strongly that the school needed to have a brand-new field,” said Matthew Kazlowski. “It’s something that he really wanted to do, and he looks at it as part of his legacy, leaving such a great track and field for the students.”
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito also allocated $1.5 million to the project, and Borough President Adams kicked in $1.2 million.
The high school students use the athletic facilities for both daily gym classes and after-school sports games and practices, according to Houlihan. But the track and field are also open to the public, meaning that Ridgites will also get to enjoy the upgrades in due time, she said.
“We look forward to it both for the community and the school,” Houlihan said. “It’ll be good for everybody.”