SCOTCH PLAINS— Union Catholic High School Principal Sister Percylee Hart joined school administrators, project engineers and student representatives for a ground-breaking ceremony at the site of a new, synthetic surface turf field and track facility last week.
Funded by private donors, the new facility replaces the existing athletic field at the rear of the high school and is designed to accommodate several sports teams and athletic programs. The facility includes regulation-size, all-weather fields for soccer, lacrosse, softball and baseball, with a practice track and a cheerleading drill area.
The current phase of development is scheduled for completion by late September to coincide with the start of the 2009-2010 academic year. The redesigned track and field complex will also be used year-round for physical education classes and recently revived intramural programs.
“The construction of this state-of-the-art athletic facility is a momentous event for us at Union Catholic,” said Hart, who has been the visionary force behind this major improvement project. “It brings new life and energy to our mission of helping students grow both in the classroom and on the field of play.”
Bill Butler, a representative of the school’s Consultative Board and a Physical Plant Committee member, called the project a tribute to the leadership of Union Catholic. “For a private, faith-based school with no public support to undertake an initiative like this shows the amazing loyalty and support of UC alumni, parents and friends.”
Additional features of the site, slated for future completion, include extensive bleacher seating, a full-service concession stand, team dugouts, a restroom and storage facility, and attractive lighting and landscaping elements.
“We’ve taken a quantum leap in the quality of the athletic programs we’ll be able to offer our students in the future,” says Athletic Director James Reagan. “With an all- weather playing surface, we’ll be able to complete all of our home games, something we couldn’t do during rainy seasons in the past due to bad field drainage. And we won’t have to transport students off campus for team practices anymore, which had been a huge inconvenience.”
Susan Dyckman, a UC parent and current member of the school’s Consultative Board said her committee studied many athletic facilities when planning the new UC complex. “We wanted a complete facility that would have a positive impact on the entire UC community. Now we can offer prospective UC students a first-class Catholic education along with a first-class athletic facility.”
Students are excited, too. Rey Lopez, Union Catholic’s senior shortstop, says the new track and field lets other schools know that UC is serious about athletics. “This is going to help us attract better baseball players and better athletes in general. And there will be no more tryouts in the gym!”
Union Catholic has scheduled an open house for Thursday, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m. for families with children interested in attending the school. The evening event will include a tour of the new track and field facility. For further information, visit the school’s website at www.unioncatholic.org or call 1-908-889-1600.
Seen in ground-breaking photo, from left to right: James Reagan, Sr., Athletic Director; Bill Butler, School Consultative Board, Physical Plant Committee Member; Sister Percylee Hart RSM, Principal; Susan Dyckman, School Consultative Board & Current UC Parent; Daren Phil, Suburban Engineers; Greg Sharp, LandTek. (Photo courtesy of Union Catholic High School)
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