Thanks to a special collaboration between OKC Parks, Oklahoma City Public Schools, and Fields & Futures, Southeast Middle School students and the Southern Oaks community will now have access to a new football/soccer field, softball field, and outdoor stage – all part of an ongoing mission to grow student participation in sports and provide Oklahoma City children and families access to quality facilities and safe places to play.
When OKCPS embarked on its Pathway to Greatness initiative in 2019, we had the opportunity to help the district convert six elementary schools to middle schools by removing playground equipment and building new athletic fields, outdoor courts, and walking tracks. At Southeast Middle School (formerly Parmalee Elementary), we had the space to install a new outdoor futsal court, basketball court, small practice field, and outdoor shade structure.
With Southern Oaks Parks adjacent to the Southeast Middle School campus, OKCPS and Fields & Futures reached out to OKC Parks to create an agreement whereby Fields & Futures would construct a new softball field, football/soccer field, and outdoor stage at Southern Oaks Park–to be a shared resource for Southeast Middle School students. With funding support from the McLaughlin Family Foundation, OKC Parks is excited to add these outdoor resources to Southern Oaks Park.
We knew adding outdoor athletic fields would be the next big step for Southern Oaks Park.
Says OKC Parks & Recreation Director Doug Kupper, “When Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) opened their new Southern Oaks Health and Wellness Campus in late 2018 to provide a more holistic service offering to citizens and families in south Oklahoma City, we knew adding outdoor athletic fields would be the next big step for Southern Oaks Park. Today marks the beginning of that important addition.” Added Kupper, “Anytime we can align efforts and resources with community partners to expand access and opportunities for OKC kids and families, it’s a great day for everyone.”
OKCPS Superintendent Sean McDaniel added, “We are grateful to have so many organizations and partners investing in our schools and students. We appreciate how Fields & Futures approaches their work through a spirit of partnership and collaboration, and I continue to be amazed at what has been accomplished in just eight short years. Each new set of fields is a game-changer for our kids. This new relationship with Southern Oaks Park is a great new chapter in that evolving story.”
Each new set of fields is a game-changer for our kids.
Southeast Middle School is the last of our OKCPS Pathway to Greatness middle school projects, bringing the total of restored middle school campuses to 12, and the total number of campus improvement projects to 67.
Says Fields & Futures co-founder Tim McLaughlin, “None of this would be possible without our committed donors and resource partners. The Wes Welker Foundation has provided field equipment to every Fields & Futures project since inception in 2012, Musco Lighting and the U.S. Soccer Foundation made significant contributions toward 10 middle school futsal courts, Blake and Taylor Griffin and Team Griffin Foundation contributed to five middle school outdoor basketball courts, and the Oklahoma City Community Foundation provided support through their Parks & Public Spaces grant for the walking tracks at Jefferson Middle School and Webster Middle School and landscaping at Star Spencer Mid-High. We are blessed with an amazing circle of friends and supporters who share our passion to help OKCPS put more students on teams and a proven path to graduation.”
Added McLaughlin, “With everyone’s continued help and support, we estimate another two to three years to complete funding for a perpetual field maintenance fund, ensuring this investment continues to produce a lifetime of returns of OKCPS students and families.”