When the Holy Trinity Tigers took to the field for their first home football game on September 13th, they were excited about more than the prospect of winning the game, they were ecstatic to play, for the first time, on the latest technology, NFL-quality synthetic turf field.
The brand-new field is just a small part of the improvements coming in the next year for Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy’s athletic program. The private school launched a $5.5 million capital campaign last spring to raise funds for a comprehensive Tiger Athletic Complex to include not only the turf field, but also a high-performance track and a 12,207-square-foot field house.
The campaign marks the first major addition for the school since the construction of The Scott Center for Worship & the Performing Arts in 2005. The existing Catherine A. Ford Field, named after the former head of school, was completed in 2001, and all other facilities at its Upper School/Pineda campus are original to its construction in 2000.
According to Dr. Katherine Cobb, president of Holy Trinity, the project is an exciting and necessary part of the school’s goal to educate the whole child – mind, body and spirit. “Every child from preschool through eighth grade participates in physical education, and some choose to go beyond that requirement by taking physical education electives,” Cobb shared. “We have more than 50 junior high, junior varsity and varsity athletic teams, with more than 86% of our students playing at least one sport during their junior high and high school years, so athletics represents an integral part of student life at Holy Trinity.
“These new facilities will make a significant impact on the holistic educational experience, not only for our current student-athletes, but for future generations to come,” Cobb continued.
An average of 14% of Holy Trinity graduates go on to play collegiate athletics, competing in Ivy League, Southeastern Conference, PAC-12, Big 12 and Olympic development programs, as well as the NFL and LPGA. Holy Trinity has won more than 166 state, regional and district athletic championships since the start of the athletic program in 2000. Throughout his time at Holy Trinity, Marcus Maye (shown on cover) competed in football, basketball, baseball and track for the Tigers. He graduated from high school in 2012 and went on to play football for the University of Florida. He graduated in 2017 with a degree in African American studies and was drafted by the New York Jets the same weekend. Knowing the impact that high school sports had on his career, Marcus is eager to see the changes taking place at his alma matter.
“I’m excited to go back to Holy Trinity to see the Tiger Athletic Complex when it’s complete,” Maye said. “The new field house will be a great place for student-athletes to meet and train, and synthetic turf field will definitely provide the Tigers with a competitive edge.”
“It’s great to know that Holy Trinity families and supporters are investing in the future of our student-athletes,” Maye continued.
Faster, cooler, stronger
With as many as three levels of boys’ and girls’ athletic teams using the outdoor facilities, including soccer, lacrosse, track and field, cheer and football, as well as daily physical education classes, Holy Trinity’s previous grass playing field was subject to a tremendous amount of wear and tear. Synthetic turf not only withstands heavy use better than grass, but also provides better drainage and provides a safer, more level playing surface for student-athletes.
The synthetic field, created by Field Turf and installed by Nidy Sports, is the same used at dozens of colleges and NFL stadiums, including the Atlanta Falcons’ Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta and the New England Patriots’ Gillette Stadium in Boston. Branded the “best turf technology in the nation,” the Field Turf boasts “Cool Play” technology to lower the field temperature for the safety of the athletes. The track, also build by Nidy, features the Plexitrac Accelerator polyresin all-weather surface, using innovative laser technology to provide the safest possible running surface, and to meet FHSSA, NFHS, IAAF and NCAA standards for high school, college and professional athletic programs.
“We are absolutely thrilled about the quality of these playing surfaces, not only for their superior performance, but also for the increased safety of our student-athletes and our visiting teams,” said Holy Trinity athletic director, James Phillips. “We hope to attract more district and regional competitions and meets so that all student-athletes in Brevard and beyond can enjoy these new facilities.”
A community effort
Construction on the 12,207-square-foot field house is scheduled to begin this month, with completion in late 2020/early 2021. The new complex will feature home and visitor locker rooms, strength and training facilities, athletic trainer facilities, coaches’ and officials’ offices, restrooms and team meeting space. The project also includes concessions and outdoor patio seating, as well as additional parking, enhanced outdoor lighting, a new floor and sound system for the existing gymnasium, and other athletic program enhancements. The complex was designed by BRPH and will be built by MH Williams, general contractors. Engineering is provided by CEG (Construction Engineering Group) and environmental engineering by Atlantic Environmental Solutions.
Justin Morton serves as the owner’s representative on the project, acting as a liaison between the school and the contractors. He serves on the school’s board of trustees and on its building and grounds committee and is also the parent of two Holy Trinity students, Jace and Ella, in grades three and five. Morton also has another unique perspective – his mother attended Holy Trinity for elementary school and junior high in the 1960s and ’70s.
“My family has had a long history with Holy Trinity, and we plan to enjoy many great years ahead, so I’m proud to be a part of the many improvements taking place,” Morton said. “After working with these vendors and seeing their dedication to our athletic program, I’m even more excited for our student-athletes and for the future of Holy Trinity.”
Building a legacy
Community support for the building project has been strong. In just six months, Holy Trinity has raised more than half of the $5.5 million needed to fully fund the project. As the school receives no tax-payer funding and is not financially supported by the Episcopal Diocese, all funds must be raised privately from school families, friends and community partners. The largest sponsor to date of the project is The Kelly Automotive Group for whom the larger athletic complex will be named: Catherine A. Ford Field at Kelly Automotive Stadium.
The fundraising effort is spearheaded by Holy Trinity’s director of advancement, Colleen Middlebrooks, with the help of a steering committee chaired by school parents, Chad and Michelle Shoultz. Their two sons, Brock, a sophomore, and Grant, an eighth grader, have been at Holy Trinity since kindergarten and both play sports. Brock plays soccer and lacrosse, while Grant plays soccer and flag football.
“I played sports growing up, so it was important to me for our sons to experience not only the physical benefits of athletics, but also the other life skills that come along with team sports: sportsmanship, teamwork, commitment, organization and social skills,” said Chad Shoultz.
Chad’s involvement with athletics as a student led to a baseball scholarship at Florida Tech, where he earned a civil engineering degree and now works as vice president for facilities operations. “We feel fortunate to have them at a school where athletics are recognized as a vital part of a child’s development.”
Michelle Shoultz also credits a college scholarship with changing her life. She earned an academic scholarship to complete a master’s degree in environmental engineering at Florida Tech, and now serves as president and part-owner of Frazier Engineering. She not only co-chairs the steering committee for the capital campaign, but also chairs the building and grounds committee for Holy Trinity’s board of trustees.
“Chad and I are firm believers that if you just provide children with an opportunity, they can achieve great things. That’s one of the many reasons we wanted to become involved in this campaign for Holy Trinity,” explained Michelle Shoultz. “We hope that every child who gets to use this new facility, whether they’re from Holy Trinity or a visiting team, will be inspired to pursue their dreams, whether academic, athletic or both. We consider it a privilege to raise money to benefit Brevard County children — they are worth every penny.”
Other steering committee members include the namesake of the current field, Catherine A. Ford, who served as Holy Trinity’s head of school for 25 years and retired in 2013. Holy Trinity’s former Dean of Students, Joe Mancini, also serves on the committee, along with a dozen other school parents and parents of alumni.
Fostering new IDEAS
Upon completion of the Tiger Athletic Complex, Holy Trinity will move on to phase II of its capital campaign: the IDEAS (Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship, and Applied Solutions) Institute at its upper school – a multistory classroom building to house 21st century learning programs focused on collaboration and innovation. The proposed space will include workshops and laboratories to support project-based learning, connecting traditional academic subject areas to real-world applications. New courses such as math modeling and entrepreneurship have already been established as the foundation for the type of academic programming that will utilize the IDEAS Institute configuration.
“We aim to stay on the forefront of state and national trends to ensure that we have the tools and facilities to provide our students with the ultimate college preparatory experience,” said Middlebrooks. “Our goal is not only to provide our current students with the high-quality facilities they deserve, but also to create a culture of giving within our community to ensure the growth of Holy Trinity for future generations.”
Be a part of something big
Fundraising for the Tiger Athletic Complex is ongoing. Giving opportunities include individual and corporate gifts, sponsorships, gift planning, family legacies and naming opportunities. To learn more about Holy Trinity’s Tiger Athletic Complex, visit www.allinmindbodyspirit.org or contact Colleen Middlebrooks, firstname.lastname@example.org or
321-723-8323, ext. 365.
About Holy Trinity
Founded in 1957, Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy serves approximately 880 students on two campuses: the historic Lower School Parish Campus at 50 W. Strawbridge in Melbourne, which serves students in preschool through grade six, and the Upper School Pineda Campus, located at 5625 Holy Trinity Drive off the Pineda Causeway, which serves students in grades seven through 12. Founded and sustained in the Episcopal tradition, the school places an emphasis on educating the whole child – mind, body and spirit, so students who “Start Here” are prepared to “Go Anywhere” in college, career and life. Now accepting applications for the 2020-2021 school year. For more information, visit www.htacademy.org or call 321-723-8323.