From classroom to carpool: Student athletes, athletics department reflect on campus sports facilities, transportation


Photo credit: Siena Ferraro

A volleyball rests on the Archer logo, which is painted on the sports court. The court can function as a playing space for volleyball, pickle ball and basketball and hosts Archer fitness classes.

By Siena Ferraro, News Editor

Archer offers an array of different sports to the middle and upper school. However, in comparison to neighboring schools, Archer’s sports facilities are less expansive. Subsequently, black shuttle buses and Hop Skip Drive vehicles are used to transport student athletes to off campus sports facilities.

Athletic teams such as swim, tennis and basketball practice and compete at off-campus facilities. These facilities are located across Los Angeles — from the tennis courts at Barrington Recreation Center in Brentwood to the gymnasium at Park Century School in Culver City.

Director of Athletics Kim Smith oversees Archer’s 30 athletics teams, working to “empower” female athletes through sports for the past five years. Smith said Archer has smaller on-campus sports facilities due to Archer’s residential location.

For this reason, adding a pool or a full track is unlikely because of limited space. However, Smith said the athletics department and the Department of Advancements are looking to slightly expand the current sporting facilities on campus based on what would be possible within the vicinity of campus.

“We’re really looking at, ‘Oh, could we have two lanes of a track that’s 200 meters on campus?’ ‘Can we explore spaces that are close to Archer where we could build a pool?'” Smith said. “We’re really looking at each year, trying to figure out new solutions to make that aspect of the athletics experience better.”

Smith added that currently, the department is looking into adding a gym with locker rooms to campus. She said while the official plans for the gym are still tentative, its addition would boost accessibility for athletes who participate in gym sports.

We’re really looking at each year, trying to figure out new solutions to make that aspect of the athletics experience better.

— Director of Athletics Kim Smith

“It’ll be really nice for athletes to, after their academic day … get to walk to the gym and … have a locker room and have a place to change,” Smith said. “So, gym sports will have a place to train that’s on campus where we can have our community come together and support athletics on campus.”

Athletics Assistant Madison Witt organizes transportation for Archer athletics practices and games, curating spreadsheets with team schedules to determine which days a specific team may need a mode of transportation to leave campus. Witt said, based on her own past experience as a student athlete, she understands traveling off campus for practice can have a negative impact on student athletes.

“It definitely cuts into their time. I know; I used to be a diver, so my mom would drive me to practice every day. But it was a lot, and I would have to do homework on the bus and then on the way home,” Witt said. “So, I know it’s definitely not ideal for everyone. I feel for that.”

For JV swimmer Sophia Bromwich (’25), Archer’s lack of a pool facility makes transportation — except for dry land training sessions, which occur on campus — to outside facilities an inevitable component of participating in Archer’s swim program.

Bromwich trains at Santa Monica College’s aquatics facilities twice per week and in the pool at Palisades Charter High School on Saturdays. She hopes, in the future, Archer will add a pool to its campus to boost team morale and make weekly practices more convenient for swimmers.

“I think if Archer had a pool … it’d be really nice [and] it’d be really useful,” Bromwich said. “It’s kind of obvious that we’re a homeless team, and it’s hard for us to practice a lot. Whenever I’m at a meet, I feel a little more stressed because I feel like I haven’t had that much practice.”

Recently, Witt began sending out sign-up sheets for “fan buses” to students who wish to support Archer athletics teams at off campus competitions. According to Witt, around 10-15 students typically sign up for the “fan bus.” Witt said having a mode of transportation for student fans bridges the gap between the lack of certain athletic facilities on campus and wanting to show school spirit.

“I think that we want to start [putting] more emphasis [on] those larger games against rivals … and really get the community excited about those games,” Witt said. “We don’t even really have home games that they can come pop over to besides soccer and softball.”

Sienna Gray (’29) is on the middle school track and field team and said two out of the four days a week the team practices, training occurs off campus. Gray said because of the need to practice off campus, she learned to adjust her schedule in order to complete school work in a timely manner.

Often, Gray will complete assignments during lunchtime in order to avoid working on them later that night. Gray said after organizing her time, the commute off campus became less of a burden and even transformed into a space for team bonding.

“I got used to the adjustment,” Gray said. “On the way to track meets [and practices], the bus is never quiet, and everyone is hyping each other up … so I think that going off campus helped us bond and be more spirited.”