Attention, athletes: it’s time. After the past few years of extensive construction on Marian’s academic facilities, the athletic grounds are getting a facelift.
“We [the Marian administration] did a feasibility study a few years ago, but the track was not one of our top three priorities,” President Mary Higgins said. It’s almost a running joke at Marian how poor the track looks right now. Higgins even remembers when she saw a baby duck swimming in a puddle a few years ago.
Current athletes, especially track and cross country runners, are ready to leave the weeds and pebbles behind and have a flat surface for their best sprints yet. Freshman Grace Sparwasser, who ran cross country for the first time this fall, “can’t wait until [the track] is redone.”
As for the soccer field, Marian is currently the only Class A high school in Nebraska without a turf field. Turf is so prominent nowadays because the material doesn’t get soggy like real grass, which will help prevent game cancellations.
Junior Bella Washington hopes to see the new field and use it often before she graduates. “It would be a lot easier to make passes [on the new turf],” she said, highlighting how helpful the material will be to player performance.
New athletic grounds have been anticipated for a long time but were put off because of the school building upgrades that were finished last year. The grounds will soon include a new crow’s nest and LED scoreboard for the soccer field, a true press box and ticket booth (which in the past have consisted of a fold-up table and chair by the softball field), a larger concession stand with an additional athletic training room and perhaps biggest of all, a plaza to center the whole project and provide a gathering spot for fans and athletes alike.
There will also be maintenance and support issues solved, such as an improved drainage system, more modern and uniform fencing and new lanes for parking in the lower lot.
These grounds, costing between $3-4 million, will emphasize Marian’s stronghold in Nebraska high school athletics.
“Athletes can be proud of and excited for [these] facilities,” Higgins said.
Athletic Director Ms. Rochelle Rohlfs noted the “momentum going as a school” among other building projects and hoped the updates “will attract more recruits” to continue Marian’s winning tradition.
There is also a possibility of rental openings for the track and soccer field in the future to bring in more revenue for the school.
Higgins has kept in contact with the architect and institutional donors for the past few months trying to finalize drawings and see “what will really fit.”
Conversations started in the summer of 2020 and have continued into this new year. Despite COVID-19, Marian has received generous donations for this new athletic project.