Author: Benjamin Russell
The East Providence Townies have a long, proud tradition of excellence in athletics. Today, the school offers interscholastic competition in 18 sports for male and female athletes, and students engage in physical education classes as part of the core curriculum.
The new East Providence High School will feature brand-new athletics and fitness spaces, including indoor facilities and outdoor fields, for use during and outside of the school day.
The transformation of the high school will include a complete overhaul of the athletic fields.
A new football stadium and track will become the centerpiece of the new athletic complex. The design calls for the synthetic turf, LED-lighted stadium to include seating for 1,500 on the home side, portable bleachers for 600 visitor seats, and a press box. Also proposed for the stadium is a halftime facility with restrooms and future accommodations for concessions. All of the athletics facilities will be accessible, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Until now, the football team has practiced on campus and played home games at Pierce Field. Because of the condition of the track, East Providence has not hosted a track and field meet in over 20 years on a new eight land synthetic track. The project will enable these teams to compete on campus, in a stadium that will be the envy of every visiting team.
State Representative Gregg Amore, who serves as Athletic Director at the high school, said the construction of the new stadium will be a great boon to these teams and to the entire athletic program.
“To compete on the same field where you practice is a tremendous benefit,” said Rep. Amore. “There’s also a great advantage in having the locker and training facilities on site.”
Rep. Amore cited the logistical and financial challenges associated with playing home football games off campus – particularly the fleet of buses and vans needed to transport players, coaches, and equipment, as well as the school band, instruments, video technology, and other gear.
“Pierce Field is a great facility, and there’s a lot of nostalgia about it, and we may find opportunities to play Thanksgiving games or other special games there,” he said, “but as a coach, I can tell you, having games on campus finally will give us a true ‘home field advantage.’”
He described the new track and field facilities as “the biggest on-campus improvement for athletics,” replacing the dilapidated track where students now practice but do not compete.
“We have not had a functioning track where we can host a meet in over 20 years,” he said. “We have an outstanding track program – boys and girls, indoor and outdoor – and they compete at the highest levels in the state. Soon we will have the track these programs deserve.”
Plans also include construction of new tennis courts, expanding from four courts to six. Multi-use, synthetic turf fields for baseball, softball, soccer, and lacrosse will be built along Pawtucket Avenue after demolition of the existing school building.
“There are great things going on inside the school, but of course, when you drive by, you can’t see a chemistry experiment from Pawtucket Avenue,” said Rep. Amore. “With the fields built at the front of the campus, resident will see their tax dollars in action. Taxpayers will see several brand-new fields full of youth engaged in sports. That’s powerful.”
Rep. Amore added that the significant expansion of courts and fields benefits the school and community alike. With more spaces for practice and games, there will be less need for staggered schedules that often keep student athletes on campus late into the evening hours. The expanded complex means more facilities available for community use as well, including the youth soccer program that now has a shortage of fields.
“What this new facility will offer is multi-purpose fields that allow more teams to practice and compete at the same time,” said Rep. Amore. “That means we can get everyone practicing right when school is out, and on non-game nights, most can be done by 6 p.m., getting kids home earlier to tend to homework and family obligations, and freeing the facilities for community use.”
The project includes major investment in indoor fitness and athletics facilities, too. The new gymnasium will feature a two-story fitness center, double basketball courts (large enough for two regulation games or four practice courts), a walking track, trainer’s room, locker rooms, a concessions and ticket booth, and more. The walking track and other facilities also will be available to residents during designated hours.
Superintendent Kathryn Crowley said the new facility will greatly enhance the school’s physical education program during the school day.
“We know that physical activity is essential for adolescents, and we’re proud to make physical education a critical part of the high school curriculum,” she said. “The new building will give every student clean, modern, climate-controlled spaces in which to move and exercise, keeping them active and healthy.”
Note: The descriptions above reflect the current architectural plans for the project, but these are subject to change during the construction process.