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New athletic facilities will be used by all students

Construction work at the Syd Thrift Athletic Complex is moving along and is still on schedule to be completed by next fall. Above, the baseball field press box is being built. (Photo by Larry Chowning)

by Larry Chowning

A home track meet has not been held at Middlesex High School (MHS) since 1995; the MHS baseball field was demolished when the high school addition was built in 2003; and in the 63-year life of MHS there has never been a home tennis match played on school grounds.

That’s all going to change during the next school year when the Syd Thrift Athletic Complex is complete. The state-of-the art sports complex is now under construction at MHS.

Why is it important to have these new facilities? Several county and school officials recently responded to this question.

Middlesex County Administrator Matt Walker has a child playing on a Middlesex Colts youth football team. “We have excellent recreational facilities behind the middle school (Middlesex Sports Complex at Locust Hill) for youth baseball and soccer, but as my son is playing football I have been around to see what other areas offer in regards to football fields.

“It has really impressed me to see the quality of the athletic facilities in our neighboring communities,” Walker said. “I think the Syd Thrift Athletic facility behind the high school for school and community use will get us up to par with what surrounding communities have. I’ve been amazed at some of the facilities that we have been able to play on.

“Kids notice more than we realize,” said Walker. “They notice when they have nice uniforms and nice facilities. They notice when adults care enough to provide those things. They may not say it; but it means something to them.

“I have heard it said, and I believe it, that we can’t forget that our kids are everything that we used to be, and everything we are today, and everything we will become as a people,” said Walker.

Middlesex High School principal Jeannie Duke said having tennis courts at MHS will allow more students to develop an interest in that sport. The courts also will be used by the physical education classes, so all students will be introduced to tennis.

“Once again we will have other schools coming to MHS for all sporting events, and that creates a sense of pride,” said Duke. “Also, we won’t have to go everywhere else for our athletic events.

“When I went to school here, everyone came here for baseball and track,” Duke said. “We were proud to host these events. That’s been lacking for so many years because we’ve had to go everywhere else to participate.

“Just bringing people here and having a state-of-the-art facility that students and the community can be proud of is something special,” Duke said.

Middlesex School Board member Claudia Soucek said, “It’s exciting. Think of how prideful it will be for our students to participate on a new facility.

“We’ve had great track and baseball teams and yet we have not had facilities at MHS where people can come and watch and appreciate our students’ efforts,” she said.

“It’s also a real opportunity to take some pride in our school and that has been somewhat disjointed because we haven’t been able to use the high school fields,” Soucek said. “It’s also going to be good for the entire community. These facilities will be used for other activities as well.

“We have needed new athletic field facilities for some time and now we’ve decided to build it and build it right, so it will last a long time,” said Soucek. “This is truly a wonderful investment in the future of our schools, our community and our county. These facilities will positively impact generations of Middlesex people. As good stewards of our schools, our community and our county, it is our responsibility to do that.

“I’m very thankful to everyone for all the effort that has gone into making this happen. This has been a community effort and one that we will long be thankful for having done,” said Soucek.

posted 10.30.2013

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