ATHOL SPRINGS — The Franciscan Friars of Our Lady of the Angels Province, the board of trustees of St. Francis High School, has given final approval for the school to move forward with a multi-million dollar outdoor athletic complex redevelopment project. The province has also shown its support and dedication to the school by making a substantial donation.
Project highlights include a synthetic turf field playing surface, an eight-lane all-weather track, stadium lighting, scoreboard, gateway entrances, fencing, expanded paved parking lot and access roads.
Part of the project will be a two-story building that houses home and away team rooms, coach's room, training room, officials room, restrooms, concessions, storage and the Father Rufinus Niedzwiecki, OFM Conv., Athletic Hall of Fame. The second level will provide for indoor social space overlooking the field with a capacity of 125, and an outdoor viewing space overlooking the field.
Site work, which began in February, will be followed by construction of the turf field and track. The turf and track will be ready for use for the 2015-16 fall athletics season, while construction of the building will be completed by late fall 2015.
To date, more than $3 million has been secured in support of this project.
"This project is not dependent on tuition dollars, but is being fully funded through our generous benefactors," said Father Michael Sajda, OFM Conv., president of St. Francis High School. "We have outstanding athletic programs which continue to generate successful championship teams and individuals. Now it's time to give our student athletes the facilities that match their talents and accomplishments."
Longtime head football coach and physical education teacher Jerry Smith said, "We have had so many great student athletes come through St. Francis. This facility will certainly help our current and future students to do the same."
Tom Telesco, general manager of the San Diego Chargers, and Dave Caldwell, general manager of the Jacksonville Jaguars are two examples of St. Francis success stories.
St. Francis High School Athletic Director Steve Otremba said that the new complex will benefit several interscholastic athletic programs, including football, soccer, lacrosse and track and field, as well as the entire student body through physical education classes.
"We are excited to provide our current and future students with a state of the art athletic complex that will serve as a point of pride for our entire St. Francis family for generations to come," said Father Sajda.