Heavy rain could not wash away the optimism at Lakeview Academy Friday morning, as school officials cut the ribbon on the school’s newly renovated football stadium and new facilities.
Among the umbrella-toting guests and school officials was Head of School Kirsty Montgomery, who said she saw plenty of positives on the horizon for Lakeview Academy despite taking on her role in the middle of a global pandemic. Montgomery was named as the new school head late last year but assumed the role in July.
“This does mark the start, I think, of really great things to come for Lakeview,” she said. “I’ve inherited a wonderful school.”
An earlier ribbon cutting on the new athletic facility was postponed along with a home football game, both scheduled for Sept. 4, after two coaches exhibited symptoms of COVID-19. Those coaches have since tested negative for the virus.
In a project that began with an idea at an athletic committee group meeting last October, according to Lakeview Academy athletic director Deuce Roark, the field was rotated 90 degrees to make more room for brand new home bleachers. The facility also features a new concession stand, bathrooms, press box and stadium entrance, as well as updated lights and sound system. There is also a new, eight-lane track equipped for all track and field events that gives the school the opportunity to host meets in future.
The $2.5 million project was funded by a group of Lakeview Academy parents and other private donors in what Roark called “a grassroots effort.”
“A lot of good people were committed to help build it,” he said. “It really came together quickly. It was amazing to watch it happen so fast.”
Montgomery said that in addition to being a much-needed upgrade to an outdated facility, the new stadium also provides Lakeview Academy the opportunity to host more fans this season, as the larger bleachers give spectators room to stay spaced out while supporting the team, calling the timing of the renovation “doubly perfect.”
“I just think in terms of how it will enhance the Friday night experience, we’re all going to be coming together as a community to support the football team like we’ve never done before,” she said.
Lakeview Academy football coach Lee Shaw said he’s excited about the upgrade, adding that he believes the unveiling of the stadium “gives you momentum in the whole school.”
“We’ve got a great stadium now,” he said. “It’s a great venue for people to come out and watch the game. It’s exciting that Lakeview is giving the opportunity for these players, this student body to be successful on Friday nights.”
Shaw said the new stadium will be a positive for both the members of the football team and the Lakeview Academy community as a whole.
“I think it’s about not just the game being played on Friday nights by the boys on the field,” he said. “It’s creating the atmosphere and making memories in the stands for the student body, for the parents, for everybody at Lakeview. Hopefully that gives us a home field advantage.”