With a stamp of approval by Dr. Jordan Rodriguez, Seminole High has launched their campaign to break ground in May 2020.

Seminole High School in Sanford has a storied past. First built in 1902, expansions to the campus took place in 1911 on Sanford Avenue; 1927 on French Avenue; and the schools present location on Ridgewood Ave in 1961.

With a graduation rate of 86 percent, Seminole High School offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, the nationally ranked Dazzler Dance Team and a Varsity football program that won the 2008 Florida 6A State Championship.

Although the school underwent extensive renovations from 2004-2010, including the augmentation of classroom hallways, a new media center, gym and auditorium — the football field and the adjoining track went relatively untouched.

I say relatively because 75 percent of the field was finally resodded in June 2018. However, because football, soccer, and lacrosse all consistently take place on the same playing surface, the new grass didn’t hold up and is already in disrepair.

Therefore, Seminole High School has set the lofty, yet attainable goal of raising $1.3 million within one year, to install a state-of-the-art turf field and all-weather rubberized running track.

Seminole’s troublesome conditions

Speaking to Seminole Athletic Director, Mike Kintz — he is well aware of the poor reputation that preceeds his out-dated facility.

“The condition of the football field and track is unacceptable and unsustainable for a school/athletics program this large,” says Kintz. “We lose revenue, and we are unable to host any kind of track event for our storied boys and girls track programs. We have to do better for our community, student-athletes, and coaches who work for our kids.”

In Kintz’s four years as AD at Seminole, he’s had to cancel or relocate, on average, 10 games per season due to the troublesome conditions.

“We almost had two home playoff football games threatened to be moved, two regional final soccer games where the officials made special note that the field was unacceptable but played — and we have trouble scheduling home games for soccer, lacrosse, and even football because of the condition of the field,” Kintz said.

“This year we had to cancel a Senior Night game for girls lacrosse because of rain that rendered the field unplayable. Also, we have had to limit the use of the field by our feeder programs such as Pop Warner, CFYFL, Warhawk Lacrosse, and the Sanford Sharks.”

The safety and integrity of Seminole High

With the safety of student-athletes being paramount, a turf field and all-weather rubberized track accomplish many of the goals that Kintz and principal, Dr. Jordan Rodriguez have set out for revitalizing the integrity of Seminole High.

Dr. Rodriguez, who served as Director of the Academy of Health Careers at Seminole from 2008-2013, was named principal in April and has become a champion of getting the revitalization of the track and field off the ground.

“Player safety is No. 1, and to have the most level playing field is our goal,” Kintz says. “We believe that a turf field accomplishes this goal. The bottom line is grass athletic fields were not meant to be used 3-5 days a week for 10 months out of the year.”

Unfortunately, visiting teams and players are inherently aware of the sometimes trepidatious playing conditions, which Kintz feels is a black eye, not only for the school but the entire Sanford community.

“We are well aware that the facilities we have are referred to in a negative light by several in the community to the point where parents have told me they are sending their kids to other schools because of it,” says Kintz.

“At the end of the day, we are inspired to do it [renovate] because it is the right thing to do for this proud community. But if there was any school that we will follow it is Boone High School. The last thing we want to do is put ourselves in debt.”

With a combination of several small donations, combined with some significant contributions, Boone High was able to renovate their entire weight room, turf field, scoreboard, and all-weather rubberized track for a total of $1.3 million.

Contributions from the community

With its proud history of students turned professional athletes, that include the likes of Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Tim Raines, 2006 World Series MVP David Eckstein, pro golfer Matt Kuchar, and current NFL linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong, one would think Seminole could easily reach out to alumni for their support.

However, Kintz is adamant that he prefers alums return to Seminole and get a sense of pride about their former place of learning, rather than alienating them by directly asking for donations.

“We want our notable alumni to come back to campus and feel appreciated for who they are and what they have done, not for the money they have, Kintz said. “We want them to remain a part of SHS and its great athletic & academic tradition.”

Consequently, Kintz and Dr. Rodriguez are spearheading a “grassroots” campaign that casts a wide net for specific contributors.

From corporate sponsorships to grants and other ways of monetary support, Kintz knows that the Sanford community deserves better — and expects to enact an aggressive, albeit, frictionless drive for the necessary funding.

“Our goal is simple,” says Kintz. “To unify this community around Seminole High School. To make this a premier facility to host events and provide our school, clubs, and sports the facility they deserve.”

If you or anyone you know is interested in learning more, an informational meeting will be held at the Seminole High School media room on May 15 at 6 PM.