Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
A major $5 million renovation of the Los Alamos High School football and soccer stadium is just about complete.
Now, all it needs is some athletes.
The Sullivan Field fieldhouse will include a spacious home locker room for the Hilltoppers, as well as a visitors’ locker room, said Los Alamos athletic director Ann E. Stewart.
The field house also has a spirit store, almost twice as many bathrooms as previously, and a trainers’ area, she said.
The district recently received the certificate of occupancy, Stewart said, and all that’s being done is cleaning up a few loose odds and ends.
It is something school district leaders have bandied about for some time before area residents gave their approval in the form of a $5 million bond.
“We went to the voters and asked for help with it,” Stewart said. “Our superintendent and our board got behind it, and we kind of made it happen.”
The new structure sits on the front entryway and makes for an eye-popping grand entrance, she said.
“It just made more sense to put it at the front as a welcome to Los Alamos High School,” Stewart said. “We tied it in with some of the work that was done at the high school with some similar panels that had been put on the main school building. We thought it would be a great way to welcome people to our new building.”
The work also includes a new press box on the home side of the stadium, something Hilltoppers coach Garett Williams appreciates quite a bit.
“The chain crew goes on the opposite side of the press box,” he said. “So I was also dodging the chain crew home and away, running into guys. It will be nice, with a new press box and we can put the chain crew on the visitors’ side where they belong.”
Even more important than Williams having greater access to the field is the fact that the teams no longer have to cross the street to use locker rooms back at the school, he said.
“It will be so nice to have that, especially on game days, and not have to be walking across the street at halftime and all of that stuff,” Williams said. “We have some place where we can actually go at halftime. We can get in and sit down, and get to halftime adjustments right away.”
Likewise, it provides a quick, safe haven for players from both teams when lightning threatens and the teams need to leave the field quickly, Stewart said.
“There was a lot of thought put into it because we didn’t have any good space for athletes when bad weather and lightning hit,” she said. “They had to go across a metal overpass. It didn’t make sense. We needed something to keep the kids safe.”
Because of its high visibility, the imposing structure also helps instill a sense of pride in the community and the school, Williams said.
“It’s always a good thing, good for the kids and the community, to have something big and nice like that on the main street of town,” he said. “It looks good. And you walk right out of the home locker room and step onto the field. We’re excited to be able to use it.”
Under current COVID-19 guidelines, however, the new digs will remain empty until the soccer season kicks off on Feb. 15. Football is scheduled to start a week later.