St. Vincent to undergo $1.5 million athletic facility upgrade

St. Vincent of Petaluma has plans for a new synthetic surfaced sports facility on its west side campus after an anonymous foundation made a donation to add to funds enabling the school to complete the $1.5 million project.

What it does is move a number of St. Vincent sports back on campus, including soccer and baseball. St. Vincent principal John Walker said the field will be large enough to hold a football/soccer field, a baseball diamond, a softball diamond and enough room for physical education classes.

St. Vincent purchased the home that sits near the west end of the field in 2006 and now plans include moving the house or razing it, which would expand the field. The synthetic surface would be similar to the fields at Santa Rosa High and Montgomery and a recent installation at St. Helena. St. Vincent has played football on its own field for a number of years, after playing at Petaluma High’s Durst Field for decades.

Longtime football and baseball coach Gary Galloway said there’s a chance it could be completed in time for next fall.

“Everything will be on campus and it will complete the look of the campus,” said Galloway. The field is adjacent to a gymnasium completed in 2002.

Walker said plans have always been to improve the athletic facilities but a substantial donation a couple of weeks ago turned the dream into reality.

Galloway said he’s thankful for venues like Santa Rosa High that has allowed the Mustangs to use that facility for football playoffs and for the City of Petaluma which has allowed both boys and girls soccer teams to use Lucchesi Park, but now those sports can play all their games, including postseason games, on campus. St. Vincent soccer, football and baseball teams are routinely in the NCS playoffs and they’ve never been able to host any of those games because of the size of school’s field.

Galloway said that football bleachers will be moved across the field to the south side and baseball home plate will be located in the southwest corner.

Galloway said one of the biggest differences will be practicing at the same facility as scheduled events.

Walker said amenities such as a snack bar and new bleachers will be added as more funds become available.

Eventually, an outdoor amphitheater capable of seating 400 will be added.