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High school ‘optimistic’ about proposed stadium

Students and faculty at George Washington Carver High School hope the stadium can provide practice space for their football program.

This year, about 70 high school students signed up to play football at George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science—but the school won’t have the resources to host them all.

Scott Pitzner, the athletic director at Carver, said the high school has a co-operative football program to compensate for a lack of practice space and other resources. Four football supersites are available to the School District of Philadelphia, and high school students often commute to play with other schools and practice at these supersites.

For the past two years, Carver, a magnet school that accepts students from all over the city located on Norris Street near 16th, has sent students north to play football at Simon Gratz High School on Hunting Park Avenue near 18th Street. This coming season, Carver students will be playing with the Academy at Palumbo in Hawthorne.

With 70 prospective students from Carver joining the pre-existing Palumbo team, there will likely be cuts.

“Some kids might not make the team, unfortunately,” Pitzner said. “My goal is to make sure everybody who wants to come out that is capable of playing the game gets an opportunity.”

George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science students train during the football preseason on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. | HARRISON BRINK TTN

George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science students train during the football preseason on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. | HARRISON BRINK TTN

Temple’s proposed stadium may provide an opportunity for Carver to accommodate all of their interested students. Administrators have said the stadium might be available for use by the community surrounding Temple.

“I think it would be a great home for the local city high schools to play their games,” Athletic Director Pat Kraft said in a forum about the stadium on Feb. 1. “I think [the site] is an easy one to have access to on Fridays and especially when we’re on the road on Saturday.”

Carver is located directly across the street from the proposed site of the new stadium—a fact that is met with excitement from the administration of the school. If Carver has access to the stadium, Pitzner said it has the potential to help the high school develop its own football team.

“Use of the facilities would be phenomenal,” Pitzner said. “There’s a ton of teams and, unfortunately, in Philadelphia, there’s not a ton of facilities that we have easy access to, especially … that close.”

“We value our relationship with Temple,” said Ted Domers, the principal at Carver.“I think, if anything, it will bring more opportunities for this school.”

Domers, who is in his third year as principal, said Temple has already reached out to Carver to ensure the school has a voice in the development of the stadium as it progresses.

“If they build it, what it’s allowing us to do is strengthen our partnership with Temple,” he added.

Scott Pitzner, athletic director of George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science, is optimistic about Temple’s proposed stadium. | HARRISON BRINK TTN

Scott Pitzner, athletic director of George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science, is optimistic about Temple’s proposed stadium. | HARRISON BRINK TTN

“By the time it’s built, we’ll probably already be out of here,” said Jayson Davis, 16, a student at Carver who signed up for the team this year. “It’ll be a great opportunity for younger kids to stay and do something productive.”

“It’s just giving the kids what they’re looking for in their high school experience,” Pitzner said.

But there is no definite answer as to how much access schools like Carver will have to the stadium.

“It’s only not guaranteed because we’re not at that point in the process yet,” said Ray Betzner, the associate vice president for executive communications at Temple.

“If it’s available for outside use, for other schools, that’d be a wonderful thing,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of potential that could really help out the neighborhood and help out the city.”

Harrison Brink can be reached at harrison.brink@temple.edu or on Twitter @HarrisonTBrink.

Video by Harrison Brink.

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