A big addition may soon be coming to the campus of New Century Academy. The school is working on plans to purchase land for a multi-purpose athletic field, a project valued at $1 million.
The addition of athletic fields would provide the school with much needed space to expand the amount of activities offered to its students.
“We understand, as all people in education do, how important activities are for kids,” said Jason Becker, director at New Century Academy. “Our kids aren’t the most athletic population, but they still want to be active and be part of a team. They still want to have team pride. All of those things that go with team activities. For our kids, its more about participation than about winning, which is okay.”
The school is working to partner with the city of Hutchinson and potential investors for the purchase of the necessary land behind the school and the project itself. The area would include an artificial turf multi-purpose field, as well as space for softball and baseball fields.
“It’s going to be, obviously, an opportunity for the whole city and community to use … green space,” said Josh Krych, the school’s activities director. “So we’re trying to get the city of Hutchinson involved in the process as well.”
“The high school fields are completely full most of the time, the community fields are full. This community is always looking for green space, places to play for youth all the way through adults,” Becker said. “If we can gain some fields, then we can then expand our activities for our kids. And then at the same time, offer another space to the community to be able to use. That’s a win-win. And that’s what we want, that’s what we’re working on.”
New Century would also use the space for physical education activities, which currently are done at the Hutchinson Recreation Center, Hutchinson Middle School and in their newly completed gymnasium. The school received sponsorships to help its gym this past winter, and is looking for additional support with its new field project.
“Financially for us to try to do it on our own might not be as feasible as we wanted,” Krych said, “so then we brought the city and looked at other options at how can we involve other companies to contribute to that in order to make this financial ability to do it.”
The project could begin in short order, as the school looks to get it done in time for the start of the next school year.
“They’ve told us that if they did break ground here in the spring, they could have it ready by the fall,” Becker said.
If the fields are ready in the fall, New Century hopes to offer a six-man football team for the next school year.
“We want to have a football team,” Krych said. “But nine man at our school size is kind of hard … There’s some interest from some other schools, so I’m trying to organize it with the state high school league to do a six-man team.”
The fields could also serve as soccer or lacrosse facilities, and the artificial turf could help other activities that may not want to play on muddy or over-used fields.
“If we make it turf, you don’t have to worry about the weather as much,” Becker said. “You can play on it when its rained, it’s not going to mess it up. So that’s kind of the goal with the turf.”
“It’s cheaper in the long to grass because the maintaining of it is not as hardcore,” Krych said.
The placement of such facilities in Hutchinson is something Becker sees as a bonus not just for the school, but for residents as well.
“We’re going to have one team, one practice, one game,” he said. “So that means, let’s say that’s 10 percent of the time that that field’s out there? That means 90 percent of the time, the community can have access to it. If I was the community, I’d be interested in that.”