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Hopkins Unveils Plans for New Athletics Facilities

Sarah Roberts '20, News Editor, and Sophie Sonnenfeld '21
During the Friday, October 19 all-school Assembly, Head of School Dr. Kai Bynum unveiled the plans for a new track and softball feld, marking a powerful advancement in Hopkins history.
This news was met with intense enthusiasm from students, parents, and faculty alike, given that Hopkins has never had a track or dedicated softball field. With the energy and curiosity ignited by the prospect of the track and softball feld, the Razor was able to speak with Bynum about the new plans and what this means for the community as a whole.

Bynum confrmed the track and softball feld will be completed by August of 2019. “The contractor bidding is being done this week [The week before Thanksgiving break] so that the construction can be done by the fall of next year.” Construction is on schedule and will begin within the next couple of months.

On The Hill, athletes, coaches, and the rest of the community have craved a track and softball feld for years. Bynum commented, “Not having a track has been diffcult for the program since its inception. We feel that we have a great location for it and just needed some support to make it happen.” Additionally, the idea for building both a track and softball feld has floated around for a while on the Hopkins Board of Trustees, “Since I’ve been here I’ve seen these as projects that we want to do in addition to other things, but contributions and support from the community are what finally made this happen.” According to Bynum, generous donor families – who currently remain anonymous – gave the fnancial support for this operation: “Families who were determined to make it happen stepped up and it changed the conversation. This donation was granted specifcally for the goal of creating a track and softball field.”

According to Dr. Bynum, this initiative was fueled by two main ideas: The first being the Hopkins Track and Field program is continually strong, and deserves a home on campus. In addition, building a track not only benefts Hopkins runners but also community health as a whole. “The track is also valuable for community wellness. During the day any Hopkins students, faculty, other programs and sports will be able to use the track for exercise. Our health and wellness curriculum will be able to use it too as we have just started to imagine all the opportunity this track can provide us.” Similarly, enthusiasm for the softball feld stems from allowing increased and equal access to facilities for both baseball and softball players.

“Building a softball field in many respects signals a sense of gender equity in the direction we want to go in with our girls and boys sports regarding fields and resources,” added Dr. Bynum, “The new Softball facilities will rival and possibly exceed the quality of the existing baseball field.”

For this coming spring season, the far fields will be “offline” with locations for interim fields to be determined in the coming months. By August, the fields will be open for use by anyone in the Hopkins community throughout the day. In the far field area, the grass field will be redone, with the track around it. The track will be six lanes with an eight-lane straightaway. There will also be long jump, triple jump, high jump, and pole vault areas. The shot put, discus, and javelin throwing will be at an adjacent feld. The softball field will have a dirt infield with permanent backstop, dugouts, and fencing, and brand new batting cages. There will be a storage building between the two for equipment such as hurdles and bats.

The Hopkins Track coaches are enthusiastic about how this addition will push the program in a positive direction.Along with gaining new members, Track and Field coach Julia Rowny hopes this track will advance the experience of current track athletes: “Practicing the way one expects to compete always gives an athlete a mental boost. These facilities will allow us to build a strong foundation of core skills in our athletes and give them a real chance to try different kinds of events to see where their talents are!”

Softball coach Angelina Massoia explained that she thinks “our players will appreciate the fact that their hard work is being recognized. By building a more recognizable presence, we are increasing our ability to be an impactful group on campus.” She also commented that she is particularly excited to have “a visual representation of the fact that we are serious about women’s athletics.”

Along with the coaches, the rest of Hopkins is just as excited by what this will mean for the school, even members of the community who have moved on from The Hill. Bynum even remarked, “I spoke with an alum that ran track in ’59 who was excited to hear about this project. You get to see how many people the softball and track programs have touched over the years, thus, understand the value of elevating the quality of experience in community wellness and equity.”

Bynum expects the track and softball field will attract a new energy towards the back part of the athletic felds, which has been a somewhat forgotten part of campus. He also hopes they will generate enthusiasm for the track and softball programs in general: “It will draw the energy out there, draw the people out there, and draw the kids out there in a new way that will be benefcial for the whole community.”

Although this initiative alone is already an extensive project to improve the Hopkins community, Bynum explained this is just the beginning: “I think this allows us to realize the quality of the experience we want our kids to have across all of our programs. The success and support of this planning hopefully will be harnessed to prompt additional campus projects and ignite some energy in wanting to accomplish other things too. We know there are areas in our arts, athletic, or academic facilities that need some upgrades and this initiative signals momentum in that direction that I hope continues.”
 
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