Officials break ground on $60 million athletic field at high school in South Jamaica

athletic field
Students and officials gathered to break ground on the athletic field at August Martin High School.
Photo by Athena Dawson

Construction has begun on a new athletic field and fieldhouse at a high school in South Jamaica.

Elected officials and school leaders gathered at August Martin High School last week to break ground on the school’s athletic field and fieldhouse. The project is expected to cost $58.9 million and will replace the existing field that is in poor condition.

New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, School Construction Authority (SCA) President Nina Kubota and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards were among the officials gathered at the high school for the ceremonial groundbreaking. The athletic field is slated to be completed by spring 2026 and the fieldhouse in 2027.

The state-of-the-art athletic field will feature a main area for football, soccer, baseball and lacrosse, as well as a track and field and other amenities. The new field, which will include a new drainage system, will also feature bleachers that will accommodate over 800 spectators.

The fieldhouse will house locker rooms, a press box, and an additional array of features. It will replace the existing fieldhouse that is in disrepair. 

Allison Tirberio, principal of August Martin High School, kicked off the groundbreaking ceremony by saying that the school looked forward to having the facilities necessary where it could host teams from other schools.

“The last time a home game took place on this field Michel Bloomberg was mayor,” she said. “Our varsity football players were toddlers at the time.”

Tirberio gave thanks to Adams for securing the funding for the project.

Kyle Allen, head coach of the varsity football team, said that his students have shown grit over the years, noting how they have persevered through an “underdog experience,” lacking the resources of a “home field, a homecoming, and a home crowd to cheer the players on.”

However, Allen said, despite the roadblocks the team has done well in the recent years.

“A lot of people don’t know the accomplishments they made this past season without a homecoming or home crowd. We were semifinalists. Two years ago, we were undefeated for the first time in school history.” 

Allen added that despite the lack of resources, 13 students have gone on to play college level football.

A few student athletes spoke at the ceremony, eager to share their excitement for the next generation of athletes.

“I never really got to experience playing on the football field and it was something I was always looking forward to,” said senior Brandon Patterson. “I am now happy to say August Martin will not be the underdogs anymore.” 

Following the student athletes, SCA President Nina Kubota discussed the importance of the new field and thanked the government officials for making it happen. “I’m immensely thankful for the dynamic collaboration.”

Adams made it clear to the attendees that her long-term goal was to restore August Martin High School to its former glory, citing how the years of neglect pertaining to the school’s facilities would be rectified.

SCA President Nina Kubota addresses the crowd. Photo by Athena Dawson

“Our students, those who stand behind me, in their greatness, and local athletes in this neighborhood deserve so much better. For years our community has sought to not just return the field to its former glory, but to rebuild it and renovate it for the next generations to come,” she said.  

Closing out the ceremony, the officials, student athletes and school staffers gathered and shoveled dirt, symbolizing the start of the project.