Representatives from Cincinnati Public Schools, Football Club (FC) Cincinnati, the Stargel family and the West End community celebrated the groundbreaking of the new Stargel Stadium on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School.
In her remarks during the ceremony, Superintendent Laura Mitchell noted that the groundbreaking represented the start of a new chapter for both CPS and the West End.
“It’s an exciting time for CPS to launch a new era in athletics,” said Mitchell. “As we move forward with the construction of this state-of-the-art facility, we promise that this stadium will honor the name of the Stargel family.”
The groundbreaking was held in the Taft IT gymnasium. Attendees were greeted by Taft IT student ambassadors, students leading cheers and the school’s drumline. When it was time for the ceremonial first dig, representatives, including members of the Stargel family, dug into dirt placed on top of a tarp on the gym floor.
“I am so proud to be the principal of a school that has such a rich history, thanks to someone like Coach Stargel,” said Taft IT Principal Michael Turner. “And it’s only going to get richer.”
Stargel Stadium is a tribute to Willard Stargel, a sports hero from the West End who overcame racism on and off the field and inspired many students as a football and track coach at Taft. The new Stargel Stadium will be the third one constructed in the West End, the first being constructed in 1990 and the second built in 2004.
The new Stargel Stadium, which will be located across from Taft IT on Ezzard Charles Drive, will have 3,000 seats and overall improved amenities, such as:
- More storage for the six high school programs that call Stargel stadium home
- Press box with filming platform
- Fitness/weight room and trainer’s room
- Rooms for officials
- Enhanced locker rooms with more technology
- Improved restrooms and concessions
Board of Education President Carolyn Jones presented Jason and Janice Stargel, two of Stargel’s five children, with a plaque commemorating their father.
“We recognize that this stadium will be tremendous not just for Taft IT students, but for many students in CPS,” said Jason Stargel. “We look forward to seeing it.”
Rachelle Judge, sophomore and track athlete at Taft IT, shared that she is excited to see what new memories she and her teammates will create in the new stadium — including her dream of bringing a CMAC (Cincinnati Metro Athletic Conference) championship to her school.
“Track means a lot to me,” Judge said. “Stargel Stadium has been my home since I started training to compete at my highest level, and I want to thank all who helped make this new Stargel Stadium a reality.”
CPS would like to recognize and thank all partners who contributed to a successful groundbreaking:
- Board of Education
- FC Cincinnati
- Michael Turner, Principal, Taft IT High School
- Josh Hardin, CPS Athletic Manager
- Romell Salone, Athletic Director, Taft IT High School
- Taft IT High School Cheerleaders and Coach Rebeka Beach
- Taft IT High School Drum Line, directed by David Gerard
- Regina Carswell Russo, Rrightnow Communications
- Robin Brandon and the CPS Facilities Department
- Activities Beyond the Classroom
- Sterling Rogers Trice, President, Robert A. Taft High School Alumni Association
- Ralph Moon, President, Robert A. Taft High School Education Foundation
Learn more and keep up with the progress of the new Stargel Stadium at cps-k12.org.