HGN: Gestalt Community Schools plans citys first community rugby field
The city of Memphis’ first community rugby field and its first turf rugby field will open up this fall at Gestalt Community Schools’ Power Center Academy in the Hickory Hill area thanks to a $250,000 grant from Republic Services through its National Neighborhood Promise community engagement initiative.
Republic will work in collaboration with the school and Memphis Habitat to complete the field along with additional volunteer and neighborhood revitalization projects.
“We started rugby about five years ago through the Memphis Urban Rugby League,” said Yetta Lewis, co-founder and CEO of Gestalt Community Schools. “What we liked about the rugby piece was the ability to focus on athletics, critical thinking and teamwork. We truly believe it’s a gentleman’s sport.”
“What we realized as we are building out this community is it is important for kids to have a space to play,” said Young. “Our rugby team over the past five years has been traveling to Millington and to random fields in Memphis. We don’t have a home field, and we’re constantly up against private schools that have a lot of resources, beautiful fields and uniforms. In spite of all of that, we’ve gone to state championships.”
A volunteer cleanup day with Republic Services and Memphis Habitat is scheduled for the summer to prepare the rugby field for construction. Irrigation work will begin on July 1, and the anticipated completion date is set for October when the next rugby season gets underway for the Power Center Academy High School’s girls’ and boys’ teams.
“When we’re not using it for games, we will be partnering with other local organizations like community centers so they will be able to use it for neighborhood kids to play after-school organized soccer and weekend organized sports,” said Young.
“So we’re excited about what it will bring to the Hickory Hill community.”
While the grant will help pay for the field itself, the school is still looking for co-sponsors to help fund additional pieces like bleacher seating and a scoreboard.
The grant money from Republic will also be used to install a community garden, which should also be ready by the fall.