New look for West High athletic facilities in the works

By Steve Williams

You can’t see it from Sutherland Avenue, but there’s a lot going on in the backyard at West High School.

A new look to the baseball field is in the works and not far from its right field corner is the school’s new softball field that is about “three-quarters” completed by new Athletic Director Paul Romero’s calculations.

To meet Title IX guidelines a new facility has been built between the baseball and softball fields that includes dressing room and locker room areas for the two teams plus a training room, where the school’s athletic trainer can attend to players’ needs.

This building also includes a concessions area and bathroom area and connects to a “heated” batting cage that both teams can utilize.

There’s a new storage building close by too for mowers and equipment.

Work also is going on for a new entrance to West’s turf field, which is used by the football and girls’ soccer teams in the fall and the boys’ soccer team, boys’ and girls’ lacrosse teams plus the school’s track teams in the spring.

The current entrance, said Romero, will become an ADA entrance for wheel chair access, etc.

A new ticket booth has been built and will be used for all the sports aforementioned, and there will be nights in the future when three games could be playing at the same time.

To connect all of these facilities are stone pavers and Romero foresees the widest portion of this walkway one day including a huge Power W logo.

With the back of the football stadium now visible from where the softball field is, Romero said a Power W has already been planned to be painted there.

The softball team has been playing “away” games. “Right now we just want to make sure our field is safe and playable for our girls,” said Romero, who took over as the school’s athletic director in early January. “There is a good possibility that they will be able to play on it this season. End of April is the hope.”

Romero said West High is scheduled to host the district tournament in May.

West also is having its inaugural season this year for boys’ and girls’ lacrosse.

The goal is to make the school’s backyard “a West High Square to where it’s like a big, huge entrance to one of the finest complexes in the county,” said Romero.

“We want our student-athletes to know that we are going to do everything we can to put them in spots to win. From my point, it’s the facilities and the best that I can help with that.”

The bells and whistles and trimmings are still to come.

“Dr. (Ashley) Speas (West High’s principal) has created a One West culture,” said Romero. “You see it everywhere you go. We have the Power W and ‘We are One West’ is our brand.

“Dr. Speas has created this culture where we do a lot of winning. She’s put a lot of the right people in the right places and now my job is not to mess it up.”

It’s just been four months since West won a state championship in football.

Mark Allen Bounds, West’s new baseball coach, envisions “an outstanding facility for all West people who would like to come watch a ball game of any sorts. It’s going to add to our community and just make it a really great place to come.”