Glendale school officials celebrated the completion of the Hoover High track-and-field renovations last week, ushering in a new era for the school that has finally attained what other Glendale and neighboring high schools have — a level playing field.
The $2-million renovation, built using Measure S funds, included new lighting, restrooms, a rubber-track surface and field turf.
Also, the field was made level, replacing its prior uneven and patchy qualities.
Former Hoover High athlete AC Metallinos, who now coaches the varsity girls’ soccer team, remembers the field’s centrally located hump and patchy grass when he played for the Tornadoes from 1998 to 2001.
“It was bad and bumpy,” he recalled. “You had a big hump in the middle...Playing on a level playing surface without any bumps and surprises is definitely beneficial to the girls.”
And the old field’s character could sometimes give Hoover soccer teams an edge, particularly if they were playing against teams hailing from schools accustomed to more level fields, he said.
Metallinos said he thinks the field’s renovation may make the biggest impact on the incoming freshmen soccer players who have yet to step foot on it.
“The new freshmen, when they step out to a field like that, it’s the closest thing you can be to professional without being professional. It has beautiful turf, stands, lights, track…They’ll walk in there thinking, ‘This is serious and I need to take this seriously.’”
Hoover High Athletic Director Jack Van Patten said Tornado teams will be able to train year-round without worrying about rain and mud taking too much of a toll on the field or track.
“We can have better practices more often,” he said. “You have a facility that’s second to none…We went from the basement to the penthouse.”
Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.