Submitted by Bellarmine Preparatory School
Bellarmine Preparatory School announced that renovations to Memorial Field and its visiting side bleacher complex began this summer. They kicked it off with a ground-breaking ceremony Monday, May 15 at 8:00 a.m.
Phase I of the project, due to be completed by fall 2017, will include an upgrade of Memorial Field, the home field for Lions football, soccer and lacrosse, from natural grass to a synthetic turf, widening of the field and new visitors bleachers. Phase II of the project will include upgrades to the Names Gymnasium with completion scheduled for summer of 2018.
“Through the tremendous generosity of the Names Family Foundation, the Boosters, and the broader Bellarmine community, we are finally able to move ahead on this long-awaited project,” said Robert Modarelli B’82, Bellarmine’s President. “This project will be a huge step forward in enabling us to support our young men and women year-round as student-athletes and leaders in wide range of sports and physical education activities.”
The Names Family Foundation pledged $2 million to the project, the largest single gift in support of a capital project in the history of the school. The Bellarmine Boosters are providing $400,000. Significant gifts from additional donors have provided enough funding for the school’s Board to approve the renovation, and the school is continuing to seek and accept additional contributions to complete full funding for the entire project.
When the Boosters built Memorial Field in 1945, Bellarmine was a school of 300 boys that offered only five sports. Today Bellarmine is a coed school of 920 students that participate in 19 different sports. A synthetic turf field gives the school the quality practice and competition space necessary to accommodate all programs, as well as a consistently usable facility for outdoor physical education.
About the Project
Memorial Field will be resurfaced with a new, state of the art synthetic infield system from AstroTurf, the company that invented synthetic turf over 50 years ago. In addition to football, the new, wider version of Memorial Field will easily accommodate regulation soccer and lacrosse fields.
The visiting side bleachers will match the look and feel of the home-side bleachers, which were installed five years ago, and will seat 875 spectators.
Tucci & Sons will be the general contractor for the project.
History of Memorial Field
Memorial Field was dedicated in 1945 in honor of the 26 Bellarmine graduates who lost their lives in WWII. The field was fully funded by the Bellarmine Boosters, and immediately and proudly became the first grass field at a Tacoma High School, and remained that way until the early 1980s when Lincoln and Stadium installed synthetic fields.
“Sitting on top of one of the highest points in Tacoma, with a panoramic view of Mt. Rainier, Memorial Field is a very unique setting to enjoy high school sports. Without a running track to separate fans from the field, fans sit right on top of the action. No other local high school facility in the area is designed this way,” Athletic Director Ed Ploof B’75 said.
In remembrance of the deceased graduates, 26 poplar trees were planted around the field when it was originally constructed. Unfortunately, 10 years ago the trees needed to be removed due to their size, age and disease. Seven years ago Bellarmine re-dedicated Memorial Field in honor of the 26 WWII alumni, along with deceased alumni from the Korean War, Vietnam War and Afghanistan. A new memorial was dedicated to Lt. Brian Bradshaw B’03, who lost his life in 2009 during a mission in Afghanistan.
The commemorative monument stands at the entrance to Memorial Field.
Names Family Foundation Gives Largest Capital Gift in School’s History
The Names Family Foundation’s $2 million gift to the Memorial Field project is the largest capital improvement gift in the school’s history. Founded by Sis and Scott Names in 1996, the Names Foundation’s mission is to enrich the community by awarding grants to non-profit organizations who emphasize health, wellness, and physical education in the Tacoma and Pierce County area.
The Names Foundation and family has been the largest supporter of Bellarmine athletics for many years. They fully funded the construction of the Names Gymnasium in 1982, provided funds for the Scott and Sis Track and Field Complex, Memorial Field home-side bleachers, the St. Ignatius Loyola Center, which includes the school’s Booster Gym and Fitness Center and provided a generous gift to the Bellarmine endowment to assist in the ongoing maintenance of all of these projects.