Atlanta Public Schools’ (APS) Walden Athletic Complex is a new multipurpose sports facility for Grady High School Athletics. It features a synthetic turf football field that can be converted for both soccer and lacrosse. Sitting adjacent is a dirt infield for baseball and softball team practices and games. The new sports complex opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony during the APS State of the District address delivered by Superintendent Meria Carstarphen on October 5, 2018.
Photo courtesy of Parrish Construction
The complex overlooks Atlanta’s Freedom Parkway and is situated on a 6-acre site where APS’ Walden Middle School stood before closing in 2008. A feasibility assessment found the old school grounds as the ideal space and location for a practice facility that schools within APS Grady cluster could finally call their own.
The new Walden Athletic Complex is a significant step forward for Grady Athletics, as for years student athletes have lacked access to facilities provided at other schools in the district. Grady High School, located in the urban neighborhood of Midtown Atlanta, has struggled with insufficient field space for practice and games. During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Grady High School Athletic Director John Lambert explained that time management will be significant for these student athletes who will have more time to train on the field rather than stuck in traffic.
CBRE | Heery Senior Construction Project Manager George Harkness served as Project Manager from pre-design through construction of the new facility. In addition to practice fields, the site features a 4,000 square foot field house with locker rooms, restrooms, concessions, storage and office space. Other amenities include fencing, lighting, scoreboards, dugouts and bleachers.
The new facility was within budget with APS saving more than $100,000 by reusing parts of the old school as construction materials, including concrete which was crushed and used to raise the site and level it out to make the backfield. The project also has a storm water management system with bio retention ponds. The new complex was included in the list of capital projects funded by the District’s SPLOST package approved by voters in 2016.