Following the decision to move ninth grade athletics from under the umbrella of junior high sports to high school, Sparks Stadium is quickly growing overcrowded for sports practices, costing the Puyallup School District time and money transporting students from the valley up to the Heritage Recreation Center on the South Hill.
To remedy to overcrowding, the district has gone to work overhauling property adjacent to Sparks Stadium to create a practice field to serve as an overflow area just for district athletics.
Currently with students being bussed up to the Heritage Rec Center, C-team or freshman athletes and coaches are practicing at a great distance from their typically more experienced colleagues at Sparks.
“Right now, (a) C-team can’t practice with JV or varsity since they aren’t there,” said Puyallup School District athletic director Rick Wells. “The field will benefit both the coaches and the athletes.”
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Additionally, the new practice field will be close enough to give head coaches a chance to roam and see what talent the C-teams have, and for freshmen athletes to get to know the JV and varsity athletes and coaches.
“It will make the kids feel included and welcomed,” Wells said.
The field, located at 501 7th St. S.W., won’t have any permanent structures such as lights or bleachers, nor will it be the size of a football field, but the district sees it as an asset to continue to grow Puyallup athletics.
“It’s just a grass area that’s safe,” said Brian Devereux, the district’s director of facilities. “It will be great for our athletic teams.”
The $315,968 practice field isn’t expected to be finished for another year or so, as the district still needs to re-seed the field and give the grass time to grow as well as put up a perimeter fence around the 70-yard field.
Paul Brothers Inc., out of Boring, Oregon will demolish the existing fencing, grade the field so it’s level, plant grass seed and install permanent fencing.