The $8.5 million reconstruction of the Grover Cleveland High School (GCHS) Athletic Field, located at Seneca and DeKalb avenues in Ridgewood, officially got underway on Friday with a ceremonial groundbreaking.
On hand to make the first dig were GCHS principal Denise Vittor, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, state Senator Joseph Addabbo, a representative from Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan’s office, Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano, members of the School Construction Authority (SCA) and GCHS staff.
“This was much needed since the day I got here in 2011, which meant it was needed even before then,” Vittor said. “So this is important for the neighborhood, it’s important for our students and it’s important for the community.”
The field, which originally had a track and baseball field, will now become a sports haven for the students of GCHS. The AstroTurf field will support a regulation soccer field, full-sized baseball and softball fields, batting cages, a running track and lines for lacrosse games, thanks to the landscape architects and site planners Semmens Associates, P.C.
“This is a multimillion-dollar project here that will not only benefit the kids of Grover Cleveland, but the entire community,” Crowley said. “[It’s] not just that the sports are important for physical fitness, but it’s also about building a stronger comradery and sportsmanship at a school like Grover Cleveland … so I know that they whole entire learning experience at Grover Cleveland will be improved upon because of this.”
The estimated completion date for the field is set for Aug. 8, when there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the field.
“Our whole student body embraces this,” said Jack Ciano, athletic director and assistant principal of health and physical education at GCHS. “This is going to be great for all the sports teams and clubs that we have. This is going to be the turning point for the school. It will be really good for all of our students. I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”