PONTIAC, Mich. – Just a few years ago, thoughts of a new athletic field at Pontiac High School were just a pipe dream. The cash-strapped district didn’t have the money to make it happen, but on Friday, players took the field under the lights for the very first time.
Early Friday there was a sense of pride in the air as anyone from construction crews to alumni helped put the final touches on the new field.
Pontiac School District Superintendent Kelley Williams credits the momentum to the community. In March 2020, voters passed a $147 million school bond -- the first school bond passed in 30 years.
“They (the community) got behind the district and supported us and knew we wanted to improve our facilities,” said Williams.
The field, which was a $5.1 million dollar project, is part of that. Lights, more bleachers, turf is a stark contrast of the practice field it was known as.
“We had drainage problems, mud. This was not a field to play on,” Williams said.
Students would have to play home games at Wisner Stadium a couple of miles away, but Friday night was the end of that era.
“Now they have a sense of belonging to have their own field. The field that they can say they are now the home of the Phoenix,” Williams said.
Scott remembered when he was attending high school in the district in the 1980s and not having a home field then. He and Pontiac Collective Impact Partnership organized an alumni homecoming spirit week that ended with tailgating at the game.
“We closed Pontiac Northern, Pontiac Central and now we have Pontiac High School and in that process we kind of lost the momentum of alumni and this is the time to bring that back and rekindle that,” Scott said.
The ribbon cutting of the field is symbolic in many ways.
“We’ve seen these type of facilities in our surrounding communities, not here. But today will be the beginning of something new and exciting,” said Scott.
More: Oakland County news