The Nathan Hale High School soccer team is one big family, but they need a good field to call home. On June 8, Tulsans will have the opportunity to vote for the 2021 Bond for Tulsa Public Schools, a $414 million investment in Tulsa children, teachers, and families, of which $25 million will enhance athletic programming for all students across the district, including a brand new indoor soccer field for the Hale Rangers soccer team.
The 2021 Bond for Tulsa Public Schools includes four propositions supporting safe learning environments, technology investments, student transportation, and high-quality learning materials. Proposition 4 of the bond package includes a new indoor soccer and basketball complex at Hale High School. The complex would be the new home arena for the school’s soccer and basketball team and provide a safe, state-of-the-art facility for all of the district’s soccer and basketball teams to practice. The new complex at Hale will also be a resource for Tulsa’s growing soccer community to rent after school hours and on weekends.
"Soccer has become our most successful spring sport in the past five years and we now have more students participating in soccer than any of our other spring offerings," said Executive Director of Athletics Gil Cloud. "Indoor facilities allow students to practice year-round, regardless of the weather - this means that students aren’t missing opportunities to practice or train because of the conditions outside."
Students who have access to well-equipped and easily accessible facilities can compete at a higher level, opening the door to more post-secondary opportunities. On average, student athletes at Tulsa Public Schools receive more than $1,000,000 annually in athletic scholarships, and some even go on to compete at a national level.
Cloud said: “This is more than a facilities investment; when we improve resources and conditions for our student athletics, we’re keeping them engaged in their academic pursuits and increasing their access to colleges and universities after they earn their diplomas.
Hale Boys’ Soccer Team Captain Christian Arevalo is a senior with a scholarship offer to play at Rogers State University.
He shared: "We call ourselves a family and really challenge each other. We focus and work as hard during study hall as we do in practice."
That work ethic is contagious and is having a positive effect on students.
"We are seeing students go from not even close to being on track to graduate to graduating with honors," said Shane Keim, Nathan Hale High School athletic director. "They have gained that drive and want to be on the soccer field with their teammates! That's what matters; sports helps us take kids who may be struggling and work to make them into graduates."
"This is more than a soccer facility. It's an investment in our entire athletic department," said Keim. "It's great for soccer, but also great for all of our programs. It has basketball courts, a new entryway for our gyms, and a student union. If there is lightning in September, the football team can practice there; if the baseball field has six inches of water, the team practices there. It could be a huge benefit for all of our programs but soccer specifically. Indoor soccer is so unique, and we would be the only high school in the area to have an indoor facility. Our students could latch on to that, make it their own, and see major growth in that program."
The students on Hale's soccer team are excited about what the new facility will mean for the future of the school and the sport.
"My experience with soccer here at Nathan Hale has been really positive. I've got to see the potential in a lot of girls," said Emily Lara, the Hale girls’ soccer captain who will be graduating this year as salutatorian for her class. "If we were to have an indoor facility, it would be a huge change for the school. The players coming in after us will see that we didn't get an indoor faculty, but they do. It will inspire them to appreciate it and earn it."
This investment is not only one the Hale students and community need, but one they deserve. With the support of teachers and the school’s athletic staff, the new facility at Hale will help students become stronger athletes and provide them with skills and opportunities to excel in high school, college, and beyond.
The proposed bond package is designed to keep property taxes level. The deadline to register to vote in the June 8 election is Friday, May 14, and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is 5pm on Tuesday, June 1. You can find more information and details on each proposition at www.tulsaschools.org/2021bond.