The following article was submitted by Bishop O'Connell High School:
The ribbon was cut Friday on the newly renovated Monsignor James W. McMurtrie Field at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington. The pre-game ceremony included words of gratitude from the school’s president, Kathleen Prebble, alumnus and former chairman of the board of governors, Kevin Fay, and fellow alumnus and architect Doug Gehley. The school’s chaplain, Phillip Cozzi, who is also an alumnus, led those assembled in prayer, and blessed the crowd, the players and the field.
This ceremony preceded the O’Connell varsity football team’s home opener against Alexandria's Bishop Ireton, which the Knights won 27-12.
The field renovation project, which began last September, repositioned the rectangular field to allow for a regulation width soccer field and a new six-lane track, along with new bleachers and a new press box. A state-of-the-art artificial playing surface provides optimal conditions for teams in all kinds of weather.
Reston-based architectural firm SHW Group designed the project, with land planning and site engineering services provided by the consulting firm of Gale Associates. The construction contractor was R.A.D. Sports.
Six sports — football, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, cross country and track and field — will use the athletic fields at the varsity, junior varsity and freshman level, according to Athletic Director Joe Wootten. Other sports teams, as well as physical education classes, will use the track and turf for conditioning.
“The new field will allow O’Connell’s athletic program to maximize the use of the field on a year-round basis and will significantly improve participant safety for all events,” Wootten said. “With the project completed, we are focusing on putting the finishing touches on reorienting our neighboring baseball field to finally provide a regulation right-center field.”
The project replaced the original rectangular field and track that was completed in 1964.
“This is a happy day for our school community, and only the first of many renovations we are undertaking,” Prebble said. “Inside the school, in tandem with this project, we have been completely renovating two science classrooms, and next month we will be updating our auditorium seating, as well.”