Athletic Director Bryce Smeins is quick to point out that academics are what schools are built around but the athletic facilities are the ‘front porch’ of the school, and with the upgrades, ‘our athletes have a great opportunity to succeed with the facilities we have here.’
However, there is still quite a bit of work that needs to be done.
“They (the fields) are quite a mess right now to be honest” says Smeins. “All the facilities are torn up quite a bit. We just don’t have enough grass space right now and it’s something we’re working on.”
Perhaps no team is going to be more affected this spring than the soccer teams.
“The soccer fields (are) in tough shape right now. I don’t think we’ll be able to use it this spring very much. We’re maybe a year away from playing on it. We’re probably going to play soccer on top of the football field for one more year.”
After the soccer season ends the plan is to tear up the football field and put a new irrigation system in to have the field ready for football in the fall.
The track and field team will have to make alternate plans as well when it comes to field events like the discus.
“We put 120 truck loads of dirt in the middle of (the football practice field) and leveled it off, that right now is not usable during track season, but the track itself is in good shape. We may have to move (the shot-put and discus) around a little bit. It will take some creative scheduling but our track coaches are great people and they’ve got a plan for that.”
Listen to Bryce Smeins talk about the athletic facility upgrades
All of this is a necessary evil as Washington continues to upgrade their athletic facilities across the board, from the new gym (which should be useable by July) to baseball and softball improvements that will be done by the summer season.
“They’re in the process of putting all that (press box, dugout, and fencing) back up. Hopefully we’ll get good weather down the stretch for that. They’re putting up a different type of netting at the baseball field, going with a netting backstop instead of a fence. It’s great for vision and has a nice look to it. They’re going with new wooden dugouts and the new press box will be nice.”
Also in the plans is to add some lights to the baseball field but that will have to happen down the road “hopefully in the near future” but they will cost 175,000 dollars and the school is having some trouble finding the money to pay for it.
All things considered, the softball field is in tremendous shape.
“Over at the softball field we’re in the process of doing some perimeter work. Right now we have a field surrounded by mud. The booster club and the WASA are working hard on that project. The softball field is as good as any in the area, we just need to get (the perimeter) cleaned up.”
When it’s all said and done, Washington will have top some of the top facilities in the area that is sure to bring many tournaments and postseason play to the area.
“We’re very excited about our athletic facilities right now. Look at the last five years; new weight room, new wrestling room, new press box, new locker room. We have a video room out at the football field, new soccer field, new softball, and baseball is pretty new as well. There’s a lot of good things happening right now facility wise.”
For now though, there’s no time to relax on that ‘front porch’ swing.