Athletic facilities on campus undergo construction

Several changes, totaling $27 million currently, are being made to TPHS athletic facilities, including renovations to the tennis courts, football stadium and softball field, as well as the construction of a pool on campus, according to Principal Rob Coppo.

First on the renovation and improvement agenda are the main softball field and nearly all tennis courts, which have been under construction since the beginning of the 2023-24 school year. Both should be finished by spring, when the girls’ softball and boys’ tennis seasons will get underway, according to Coppo.

Due in part to a Title IX claim against the district that the TPHS softball fields were inferior to the baseball fields, the softball field is expected to have a new Astroturf outfield as well as a permanent perimeter fence.

Varsity softball outfielder Ava Fagin (12) is especially looking forward to the reconstruction. She has advocated for the improvement of the softball field since her first year at TPHS.

“This has been the Class of ‘24’s journey,” Fagin said. “To just know that [the field] is going to be smooth and nice and clean is really exciting.”

The TPHS tennis courts have been known to have significant cracks in the foundations, according to Coppo. The plan calls for replacing the asphalt courts with post-tension concrete courts, which offer more resistance to movement and cracking.

Girls’ tennis team co-captain Ava Elleraas (12) views this development with much hope for future tennis players at TPHS.

“A lot of other sports get lots of hype and support, but tennis has never been one that has gotten that,” Elleraas said. “Once we get more of a secure area to ourselves, it will attract more people.”

Once these two construction projects are complete, the creation of a 39-meter swimming pool is set to begin behind Building J and in front of the baseball field, Coppo said.

Locker rooms specifically for water polo players and swim and dive athletes are set to be attached within the main gym with a path from the main locker room entrances to their separate rooms. The cost of the pool complex project is estimated at around $16 million, the Coast News reported in June 2023.

“I love the idea of being able to have [swim] meets on campus and support our teams. It would be a huge acknowledgment for our swimming programs … [and] it’d be nice to finally have a home for them,” Coppo said.

During the 2022-23 school year, the boys and girls water polo teams had to reserve times at Mt. Carmel High School for practices and meets. Swim team had to commute to the Boys and Girls Club in Solana Beach. The four students on the dive team had to go to Cathedral Catholic High School to practice at that pool during the end of their practice from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., according to varsity diver Mary Taich (12), who spoke with the Falconer last March.

After decades of speculation about the addition of a pool to the TPHS campus, rumors of a pool on the roof of the gym notwithstanding, aquatic sport athletes will no longer have to commute to practices, nor will they always have to travel to other schools for meets.

Varsity swimmer Yifan Fang (11) took stance similar to Elleraas’, saying that with the construction of a new pool, more students will feel inclined to join aquatic teams on campus.

“Last year, we had pretty terrible timing in terms of when we could go practice at the community pool … which kind of drew kids away from the swim team,” Fang said. “Getting a pool on campus will definitely get rid of that hesitation to join the swim team and [will] get more members in the water.”

Lastly, the football stadium is projected to feature new facilities in the coming years. Parent liaisons from the football team are figuring out ways to fund a brand-new screened scoreboard for the stadium by next football season and Coppo confirmed that TPHS administration is looking into making the stadium more accessible. Proposed changes include switching the home and visitor sections of the stadium — the home section currently being further from the entrance — and increasing accessible seating.

“The opportunity to build some hype for our teams and create an even bigger atmosphere at our games is something that the kids deserve,” Coppo said.

With new facilities set to open to students within the next few years and stadium upgrades scheduled to be finalized in the coming years, TPHS athletics enters a new era.

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