After years of delays, Cleveland STEM High School finally has home field

VIDEO: After years of delays, Cleveland STEM High School finally has a home field

A long-awaited project in South Seattle is finally done.  After years of delays, Cleveland Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) High School in South Seattle now finally has a home field.

Students there used to walk or bus while hauling their gear to practice at other schools or public fields.

The $4.9 million athletic space includes a football field, a rubber track, batting cages, and a practice soccer field.

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Saturday, Cleveland High School’s pep band, cheerleaders, football players, ultimate frisbee, baseball softball, soccer and other student-athletes all came out to celebrate this brand new field.

The school's principal, George Breland, said it’s something that will change the dynamic here for students and boost school pride.

“How your school looks and how you feel about your school is very important. Now we have something to call our own. And you can tell people, we go to Cleveland,” said Breland said.

Students could not agree more.

“I stepped onto the field and it just filled me with so much joy knowing that we don’t have to take a bus and leave school early just to go practice, you know?” said Kezia Cook, a CHS student. “It’s going to be really cool that the eagles have a place they can play and call home.”

The school’s athletic director, John Hughes, says Cleveland High is already known for its academics, with a graduation rate of 92.2 percent. And now, he says another force is coming.

“We have the highest graduation rate in the city,” Hughes said. “Now [is the] time for athletics to have their success. Watch out, the Eagles are on the rise!” he said.

More than $2 million for the fields came from Seattle Parks and Recreation, which owns part of the field. The rest of the funding came from two school levies.

It took at least seven years of talk before CHS got the field. Part of the delay came from the split ownership of the property, adding to complications.

Seattle Public Schools also said levy projects are usually decided years in advance, which also brought delays.

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