A three-story, $5 million team house next to Pascal Field on Bestgate Road is nearing completion. Not only does the facility pass the eye test from the outside, but the interior is one anyone associated with the athletic department, student body and parish would be proud to call home.
“It was a need for us and for our student body,” athletic director Allison Fondale said. “We’re excited about this. We feel very fortunate and blessed that we’re going to have this building here for our students.”
Ground was broken for the new team house on May 10, 2016. Workers are still putting the finishing touches on the building and the landscaping around the outside. Training and weight training equipment were delivered and installed late last week. A dedication and mass was held on Saturday and teams will begin using the new facility very soon.
“This really is a very exciting time at St. Mary’s. This is the first major improvement we’ve had to our facilities, the school or the parish in the last 10 years,” school president Fred Haller said. “This has been something that’s really been a desperate need for us. Our athletes have not had the space they need, the space that represents the quality of programs we have, the quality of athletes and the quality of coaches. This really ups the game for all of us.”
Though a new stadium opened in 2007, there still wasn’t a fully functional team house to accommodate the teams that would use the stadium. The nearby Stallings house is a home that was converted into locker room facilities, but did not have the amenities the new team house does.
There are locker rooms for boys and girls that can be accessed directly from the outside, coaches meeting rooms and weight training facilities that all athletes can use throughout the year.
The facility also includes public restrooms that will replace the portable restrooms offered in the past. Previously, any indoor workouts, such as offseason conditioning and weight training, were held at the school. Now, all teams will have access to the facility year-round and multiple teams can work out in the facility at the same time. The weights themselves even feature a St. Mary’s logo.
With other teams in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland offering such a high level of competition and with many of them having access to the best training facilities, the school saw the team house as a need.
“It’s a state-of-the-art facility, and that was our goal all along,” Fondale said. “We’re competing at the highest level in great conferences, so it’s a state-of-the-art facility just like our competitors.”
The upper level of the building includes a large conference room that will serve as a parish ministry meeting room. The space also features an outdoor balcony that overlooks the field. The ministry was previously using a room at nearby St. John Neumann Church.
“It’s a huge improvement for our parish,” Haller said. “The meeting room on the third floor is going to have a strong ministry presence from our parish. Although we are a school, we are a parish school.”
While public schools in the county have access to funding from the county, private-school projects like the one at St. Mary’s are typically funded by the schools themselves. The team house is being funded through a variety of sources, including alumni.
“As with any of these projects, it’s the community that makes it all happen,” Haller said. “The parish and the school have an incredible debt of gratitude to all of the families and to all of the people who have helped support this and make it happen.”
Funding for the project does not include any type of tuition increase, which means the team house will only add to the overall experience for the school’s student-athletes. Fondale estimates 80 percent of St. Mary’s students are also athletes.