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Dedication ceremony for multi-purpose ‘Tom Ellis’ athletic field at Holmes High School set for Thursday

A dedication ceremony for the new multi-purpose athletic and activity field at Holmes High School is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the stadium, one day before the football team’s season-opening home game against Bishop Brossart.

The first soccer games on the synthetic turf field will be played on Saturday at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The public is invited to the dedication ceremony for the $2.5 million project that replaced the natural grass on Tom Ellis Field, which was originally constructed in 1936 and had not seen a major upgrade since 1982. The stadium also has a new scoreboard, track surface, press box, fencing and other amenities.

The synthetic-turf field will be used by Holmes’ football and soccer teams along with the marching band, physical education classes, Junior ROTC program and other local high school and youth sports teams.

“In Covington, we believe that facilities such as this new stadium have a place in education,” said Alvin Garrison, superintendent of Covington Independent Public Schools. “Facilities like this one play an important role in keeping our students engaged and active in the classroom and on the field. Actually, this upgraded facility does more than that. It sends a message that our students and community are worth it.”

Eric Neff, personnel director for Covington public schools, said the synthetic turf field provides a safer surface for student-athletes and will become a “real point of pride” for the entire Covington community.

“The artificial turf installed at Holmes stadium is not just a beautiful backdrop on the Holmes campus for athletic events, but it makes this stadium a multi-purpose facility that requires zero recovery time and is immediately ready for the next event,” Neff said.

In 2014, the Tom Ellis Athletic Memorial (TEAM) Foundation started a capital fund-raising campaign to build the new field. Over the past three years, the foundation raised more than $300,000 from individuals, businesses and foundations to help pay for the project.

The foundation also donated capital funding for the Meinken All-Star Field, which was renovated in 2015 in conjunction with the Major League Baseball All-Star game that was played in Cincinnati that year. The Cincinnati Reds and Major League Baseball contributed about half of the capital needed for the $800,000 renovation.

Gary Huhn, president of the TEAM Foundation, said it’s a dedicated group of Holmes alumni, friends of the school district and district administrators and staff who have worked tirelessly to upgrade the athletic venues for students and the community.

The foundation is named for Tom Ellis Sr., also known as “Mr. Bulldog,” who compiled 1,100 wins while coaching football, basketball, and baseball at Holmes High School. The group assists Covington youth and the city’s public schools by supporting athletic activities, providing scholarships and promoting excellence in education and sportsmanship.

A drone video taken of the new Holmes stadium and baseball field is available by clicking here.

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