Fort Hamilton H.S. Athletic Field reopens Aug. 5

August 1, 2019 Paula Katinas
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The Fort Hamilton High School Athletic Field, which functions as both a school facility and as a public park, will reopen on Monday, Aug. 5, after undergoing a $4.7 million facelift.

The date for the reopening was announced by Councilmember Justin Brannan on his Facebook page.

The School Construction Authority laid down a new artificial turf on the ballfield, installed a new running track around the field and erected a new high-tech scoreboard, according to SCA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz. Shock absorbers were built into the turf, Ortiz said. The SCA also installed several water fountains around the field, repaired concrete curbs around the perimeter and installed a new drainage system.

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Fort Hamilton plays baseball, football and soccer games on the field, which is located directly behind the high school.

Fort Hamilton High School is located at 8301 Shore Rd. The 6-acre athletic field stretches from Narrows Avenue to Russell Pedersen Park on Colonial Road and from 83rd Street to 85th Street.

The construction work began in March of 2018 and was completed this July, Ortiz said. “We hope that the new athletic field will be a great benefit to the students and to the public,” Ortiz told the Home Reporter.

The funding for the project was secured in the city budget by Vincent Gentile back in 2017, when he was serving as the city councilmember representing Bay Ridge. Borough President Eric Adams also worked to secure funding for the renovation. And the City Council also pitched in to provide monies.

Brannan, a Democrat who won election to Gentile’s City Council seat in November of 2017, shepherded the renovation project to its completion.

“I am so excited to see this beautiful, brand new athletic track and field finished. It simply looks amazing and it feels like only yesterday we were breaking ground! The School Construction Authority did a tremendous job in record time. I must thank my predecessor Councilman Gentile and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for securing the funding and making this renovation a priority,” Brannan told the Home Reporter in an email.

Brannan plans to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at some point in the near future, according to a spokesperson. A date has not yet been set for the ceremony.

Brannan said he is excited about the field reopening on Monday.

“I’m really looking forward to everyone enjoying this gorgeous new field in our neighborhood and of course when students return to school in September, this will be waiting for them. What could be better?” he said.

In addition to serving the students of Fort Hamilton High School, the athletic field is also a park that is open to the general public. The facility has served in this dual capacity since Fort Hamilton High School first opened in 1941, according to the city’s Parks Department.

The school has first priority over the field, but the facility can be used as a public park during non-school hours, or on days when the school isn’t using it, local officials said.

“There are many people who enjoy exercising by running on the track,” Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann said. “I’m so excited to see the field reopening!”

The SCA took school pride to heart when installing the new track, said Beckmann, who noted that the track is painted blue and white, the school colors of Fort Hamilton.

The athletic field also contains a bit of Bay Ridge history. The facility sits on a spot that was once the site of the Crescent Athletic Club, according to the Parks Department. The Crescent Athletic Club was a prestigious sports club at the turn of the 20th century.

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