By Claire Byun
Special to Mid-City Messenger
After more than a decade of waiting and wishing, Warren Easton Charter School will officially dedicate their very own athletic field.
Legacy Field, which neighbors the Canal Street school, will be dedicated Friday during a special ceremony. School officials have been working toward a green space of their own since Hurricane Katrina, and with help from Orleans Parish School Board the “dream” was finally achieved.
“It’s just a dream come true,” said principal Alexina Medley.
Warren Easton’s Board of Directors met Wednesday with an update on the field long with an invitation to Friday’s dedication ceremony, which kicks off Homecoming. The ceremony will be held on the field at 9:45 a.m. followed by an afternoon pep rally.
In the past students, athletes and band members had to walk six blocks to Easton Park to practice on open grass. Now, teachers and coaches can host several types of activities on the neighboring field. Physical education classes, athletic practices and marching band rehearsals now have a place to call home, Medley said.
Some practices and games will still be held at Easton Park and Pan Am Stadium, Medley said, because of Legacy Field’s limited space.
“But now we’ve expanded our ability to provide a need service to our students,” she said.
Crews completed phase one of the field’s installation in August, which included a new fence and hydro-seeding. Weeks of summer downpours stalled the installation of an irrigation system and, even after the rain letup, crews had to wait for the land to dry out before any work could be done.
Officials recently installed the electrical panel and configured the irrigation system, and baseball cages are next on the list, said Billy Hatchett, Warren Easton’s board of directors president.
In the future, Warren Easton administration hope to build storage buildings and concession stands on the property, complete with lighting. Artificial turf is also on Hatchett’s wish list, though the $300,000 cost is currently keeping that dream from becoming a reality.
“We’ll use it as grass and sand for now,” Hatchett said.
Warren Easton administration finally purchased the land a few years ago after the former owner passed away, Hatchett said. Orleans Parish School Board chipped in about $1.8 million for the land, and Friends of Warren Easton Foundation threw in the remaining $250,000.
Come Friday, students have another resource to build on their future thanks to Warren Easton.
“This is where most kids get to start their legacy,” Hatchett said.