ALEXANDRIA, VA–The new multipurpose futsal court at Francis C. Hammond Middle School was finally unveiled on Monday, Nov. 8.
“This is the grand opening day of a very long process,” noted Hammond Principal Pierrette Peters Finney. “This is just another tool our teachers can use to promote a healthy lifestyle in the classroom and our after school programs.”
The court, located behind the school’s track and field, is designed for futsal (a soccer-based game played on a hard court smaller than a soccer pitch), equipped with multiple soccer and basketball goals, and is open to the public after school hours. The multi-purpose and community oriented facets of the court were implemented at the inception of the court’s design. The goal of such a design is to provide a safe wellness resource for all in the Alexandria community.
Kristin Donley, Health, Physical Education, and Family Life Educator at the middle school, stated, “We know team oriented activities such as basketball and soccer, which this court fosters, support and cultivate collaborations among our students, collaborations with others, and confidence building skills.”
Donley went on to underscore the importance of that collaboration and confidence building, especially following the quarantine period and the impact that time had on everyone’s social and emotional wellbeing.
Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings also emphasized the significance of collaboration surrounding this court, in terms of bringing the design to life.
“This would not have been possible without the work and collaboration with our community partnerships and the Alexandria Soccer Association,” he began. “We are just so excited about this opportunity and we are also looking forward to allowing our students access to this court. The Capital Improvement Program funded this construction, and without funding from the City, this would not be possible at all.”
Students, teachers, and community members alike are already taking advantage of the new neighborhood wellness resource. As school officials cut the ribbon, students were already scoring goals and shooting baskets in the background. Health and wellness resources have been instrumental in the successful return of students to Alexandria schools, and this court will serve as an additional resource of health and wellness, as well as fun, for years to come.