St. Joe’s set to open new A-Turf field for all athletes, all year

Tonawanda, New York – The old athletic fields at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute were good for a team for a season.

The new complex in the Town of Tonawanda is for all students, present and future.

Dedication festivities for the approximately $2.2 million multipurpose, all-weather synthetic playing surface begin at 6 p. m. Wednesday at the Kenmore Avenue campus.

Its expected year-round use means intramural flag football can be played throughout the winter, after varsity athletes have hung up their cleats for the season. And don’t forget physical education classes and summer programs.

“All of the kids in the building have this chance, which excites me. All of them deserve the right to be able to participate,” said Robert T. Scott, the school’s president and principal.

The facilities will be known as the Robert T. Scott, AFSC Athletic Field Complex.

On May 7, and without Scott’s knowledge, school trustees unanimously passed a resolution to name the fields in honor of the 37-year employee of the independent Catholic high school for boys.

“That’s not necessary for me, very honestly,” Scott said. “I look at this as a community celebration for St. Joe’s.”

Scott has led the capital campaign that has raised almost $13 million since May 2007. It will pay for a new science center and residence for Brothers of the Christian Schools, and $3 million has been put aside for endowment support.

“This has been a very successful campaign,” Scott said.

“Alumni have stepped forward like they never have before,” he continued. “What makes me feel good is how good they feel about the school.”

The new 183,961-square-foot A-Turf field has playing surfaces for football, soccer, lacrosse and baseball, as well as a nonregulation all-weather running track with field event practice areas. Not only is it green, it’s “green,” utilizing recycled rubber for some of its components.

Cheektowaga-based A-Turf is completing eight other installations locally, including at Niagara University and Orchard Park High and Warsaw Central Schools.

The next phase of capital improvements at St. Joe’s already has begun, although it might not be recognizable. Scott said some pipes have been installed for the science building, whose third floor will house Brothers of the Christian Schools.

“We are economists, and we have a limited space here,” Scott explained. “We would have lost space from someplace else had we built a separate house.”

The housing will have individual and group living spaces and an outdoor patio for watching the action on the athletic fields.

The science building should be ready for the 2009-10 school year.

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