Western Reserve Academy breaks ground on a new athletic turf field

Our new field will use state-of-the-art turf and field lights, illuminating the game for spectators and providing a deserving spotlight for our incredible athletes. Go Pios!

This afternoon, the WRA Board of Trustees and Head of School Suzanne Walker Buck celebrated the groundbreaking for a new synthetic turf athletic field. Donning hard hats and with shovels in hand, Buck, Co-Presidents of the Board of Trustees Marty Franks ’68 and Nat Leonard ’82, Director of Athletics Peter Hutchins, Director of Capital Projects Jeff Jacot and Trustee Warren Farr ’80 dug into the fresh earth on the school’s back fields, marking the start of this new and important project, fully funded by anonymous donors in a gift that kicks off our Bicentennial Campaign.

As our athletics programs have grown in participation and reputation over the past years, these generous donors saw the opportunity to further advance our success. The donors said the gift is about sports, but also about sustainability, and shared the following: “The lessons learned by kids on a playing field will forever make a positive impact on their lives as adults. I am grateful for my experience at Reserve, on and off the fields, and wholeheartedly support the leadership, faculty, coaches and students of WRA!”

“This turf would not be possible without the philanthropy of visionary donors. Their recognition of strategic needs—fortification of our Sui Generis athletic programs, creation of joyful experiences, and enrichment of infrastructure enhance the value proposition of Reserve. Not only does their support allow WRA to be competitive in the athletic arena but also in the landscape of esteemed independent schools. I couldn’t be more grateful for the donors’ partnership and for their support in sparking our Bicentennial Campaign.”

The new field sits in the area of campus that also includes our Pioneer stadium and tennis courts. The field’s turf is state-of-the-art quality for performance and safety, and the area will utilize special lighting that illuminates the field directly. What a wonderful thing it will be to see this field lit up on a late fall evening, a beacon for family, friends and fans to come and cheer for our athletes.

“This field is an example of incredible generosity, and it represents the importance of creating a long lasting impact within our beloved WRA community,” shared Hutchins. “The selfless contribution made by our donors, the support of our board, and the dedication of our teachers and coaches are investments in each of our students’ lives today. They are investments in the lives of students yet to join our wonderful Reserve family. This gift is an example of the importance of staying connected to Western Reserve, and, that by investing in future students, we can ensure WRA will remain a beacon of opportunity and positive change for generations to come.”

The plan for our field has thoughtful elements for the in-person spectator and the farther-flung audience of boarding families who can’t attend every contest. For on-site spectators, seating will be built into the hillside on the field’s perimeter with brick accents that convey an old-school style and the traditional architecture of campus. Streaming technology will broadcast every game for those who can’t attend in person.

The new field will be ready in the late fall of 2024 for practices and contests, and we look forward to this strong addition to our robust athletic facilities, to a bright new field that will shine a well-deserving light on our athletes, to the sound of our community cheering with pride and joy.

“Metaphorically turf is synonymous with power. It is spoken as something in one’s possession, that which one controls. It also represents a domain of mastery — knowledge, fluency, an area of expertise owned. It is my hope that this new field will inspire and empower our Pioneers to own their prowess and celebrate school pride. You are now on WRA turf. Welcome to our home!”

Here we go Pioneers!