Lehman High School students, parents, alumni and community residents are banding together to petition the city to expand the school’s sports field, once and for all.
The Lehman High School Lions football team has been unable to host a home game on their turf, since the field is 20 yards short of a regulation field, according to Maria Soto, the team’s fund-raising coordinator at Lehman High School located at 3000 E. Tremont Avenue.
When the field was renovated in 2010, its shortcomings were not addressed, Soto said.
Even though there is sufficent room for a regulation-size field, the School Construction Authority, the agency tasked with the earlier renovations, did not correct the deficiency, she claims.
A 2012 Feasibility Study laid out three options that potentially met the programmatic requirements for a regulation football and soccer field, but they all had significant drawbacks including costly infrastructure modifications and/or property acquisition, said Kevin Ortiz, SCA manager of Communications and External Affairs.
“Each option would result in a field that would still be dimensionally cramped and have poor orientations,” Ortiz said. “We would be happy to work with our local partners to look at other alternatives.”
According to Soto, the Lehman Football team has been playing its home games at the Evander Childs High School field, located at 800 E. Gun Hill Road, three miles away.
The NYC Department of Education does not provide home game bus transportation.
“The community is not going to travel to Evander Childs, (on) the other side of the Bronx, to see Lehman play,” Soto said. “We are appreciative that they [Evander] lend us their field to play, but we want our own field to play on and call ‘home’.”
It’s demoralizing that other boroughs have really nice fields and Lehman doesn’t, Soto said.
The team is undefeated, division champions, and are really good hardworking kids, she said.
Soto is calling on Borough President Ruben Diaz to complete the long overdue project at Lehman High School football field.
Soto said, “He needs to pick up his phone and call whoever he needs to call and get this field for Lehman fixed.”
In a statement to the Bronx Times, Alina Suriel, a spokesperson from the borough president’s office, said, “We are aware of this long-standing issue within the Lehman High School community but the decision to expand the field would ultimately rest with the School Construction Authority. Our office is ready to work with the SCA and is reaching out to the agency about the issue.”
Councilman Mark Gjonai, who has been advocating for the expansion of the field, said his office is determined to continue working with all parties to secure a regulation field for Lehman High School.
“It is unacceptable that this championship team, a source of pride in the Bronx, can’t host home games on their own field,” Gjonai said.
He has met with the superintendent and other stakeholders to explore ways that will bring a solution to this issue.