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Along Atlanta’s Downtown Connector, demo clears way for new athletic complex

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The new Walden Athletic Complex will feature space for five sports, a new fieldhouse.

A 1970s school, with the Interstate and downtown beyond.
The old school site on Irwin Street offers enviable views of downtown’s skyline.
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Walden Middle School, snuggled against the Downtown Connector at the northern edge of Sweet Auburn, where it abuts Old Fourth Ward, is no more.

Closed since 2009 due to declining enrollment, the retro concrete relic is making way for a new athletic complex for Atlanta Public Schools.

According to permit filings and a facilities report, the new campus will feature a synthetic turf football field, which will also provide space for soccer and lacrosse.

A new fieldhouse, complete with locker rooms, restrooms, concessions, storage, and offices will also be constructed. It’ll be used by Inman Middle and Grady High school students, the AJC reports.

Additionally, a dual baseball/softball field will be positioned along the northern edge of the property. The arc of the outfield will align with the curvature of the off-ramp from Interstate 75/85 to Freedom Parkway—hopefully a tall fence will protect against home runs flying into traffic.

Located just a few blocks from downtown, the athletic facilities could bring some livelihood to a relative no-man’s land hemmed in by the interstate and Freedom Parkway. All future games here should have stellar skyline views as a backdrop.

The project is slated to cost the school system about $8 million. It’s being funded as part of the county’s SPLOST package for schools, a tax approved by voters a year ago.

Construction is slated to wrap up in August next year.