Editor’s note: A version of this story appears in the April edition of Preston Hollow People.
Throughout its history, the Ursuline Academy lacrosse program has logged plenty of miles on the road.
Its practices are at Christ the King Catholic School, almost three miles from the Preston Hollow campus. Its “home” games are at the University of Dallas, almost 10 miles away in Irving.
That doesn’t count the true road games that have become a staple of Ursuline’s schedule during the past decade, while school officials have lobbied for the right to build an on-campus field of its own.
Starting next season, however, the Bears will have that home-field advantage for the first time. With the blessing of the city of Dallas and neighboring residents, as well as the necessary funding, Ursuline will begin construction this spring on the Sister Margaret Ann Moser Athletic Field.
The field, with lights and artificial turf, is expected to be ready for use this fall not only for practice and games for Ursuline’s soccer and lacrosse programs, but also for various other physical education activities.
“We’re very excited. We have not had a true home-field advantage,” said Ursuline lacrosse coach Lori Wales. “Even with that adversity, we’ve gone on to win state championships, but it’s a little bit of a letdown for the girls to not have fans in the stands.”
Currently, the field at Christ the King doesn’t have lights, which puts a strain on practice times. And the school has to pay a rental fee to use the grass field at UD. Its junior-varsity team practices in a floodplain adjacent to the school.
“Now we’ll be able to play an equal number of home and away games, which we’ve never been done before,” Wales said. “Besides the convenience, it’s going to be a source of pride for us.”
In soccer, the Bears have continued to excel while playing their home games at Jesuit. Ursuline won its 24th straight TAPPS state title in early March.
After more than 12 years since the school’s land purchase and initial proposal, which met with resistance from neighbors and city planners, the Dallas City Council approved the Catholic girls school’s plans for an athletic field in May 2013. That go-ahead allowed the school to solicit more funding for the project.
“It’s amazing what the fields will do,” said Ursuline president Gretchen Kane. “To have a field for competition but also for practice will help us so much.”
Kane said the cost of the project is about $3.5 million. It will include 45-foot light standards, which are lower than usual for such a venue and will point directly at the fields. The lights can be used only during specific times, and there will be no concessions building, restrooms, or loudspeakers.
The field is named after Moser, a former Ursuline school president who became a champion for the athletics project since its inception.
“She really started this dream and suffered the disappointment of that City Council vote in October 2001, but she was not to be deterred,” Kane said. “With courage and dignity and grace, she really saw this thing through.”