Eastern athletics fields project progressing

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The sounds of bulldozers and the the smell of fresh wood is in the air at Eastern High School, where new athletic facilities are being built.

There have been minimal athletic facilities available to kids since the school was founded in 1928. That’s about to change with the new football field, soccer fields, track fields and a press box under construction.

The $8.1 million project is part $120 million in improvements to district facilities approved by voters in 2016.

“We are so excited the kids will have a first-class facility to call their very own,” Lansing School District Deputy Superintendent Mark Coscarella said.

Prior to this undergoing construction, the Eastern teams would have to travel elsewhere to practice and host competition.

“The kids are thrilled they will not have to travel all over the place to practice,” Coscarella said. “They will have a first-class facility right at their school and we are overjoyed and thrilled.”

School officials said they think the new facilities will help stop a loss of student-athletes to neighboring East Lansing Public Schools. Many students saw athletic facilities in the East Lansing district that they didn’t see in Lansing, said Robert Kolt, a spokesman for the Lansing School District.

“We lost a lot of kids to East Lansing school district, but I strongly believe we will get our numbers back up again once they see this phenomenal facility,” Kolt said.

Zachary Reed, a student at Eastern High School, didn’t know a new football field was in the process of being built until recently. Reed doesn’t play any sports but had positive things to say about the project.

“I think it’s great for the name of the school to be able to say they have their own athletic facility,” Reed said. “One of my close friends plays sports and I know he’s excited to have all new facilities available right here.”

Student Traeshaun Sadler watches the construction take place every day while he’s in class.

“I get to see the progress they are making while in my math class. It’s pretty cool to see how quickly things get put together,” Sadler said. “It’s always more convenient being able to stay on the premises to practice than to have to go somewhere else. I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out once its finished.”