How Would the New University of Miami Stadium Impact Gables?


Sofia Felan

As of now, plans for the stadium on the grounds of Coral Gables Senior High have not been approved.

Maia Berthier, Co-Editor-In-Chief

Everyone knows that having a community is critical to your development as a person. Growing up, I lacked a sense of self that no institution, friends, or organization could provide. As many teens are, I was lost and did not know where to turn.

Then, I came to Coral Gables Senior High.

Gables gave me the direction, opportunity and drive to be the person I am today. Not only did I find my passions for writing and science here, but I also gained a community of peers dedicated to uplifting one another throughout one of the most influential times in our lives.

On Dec. 4, the University of Miami’s “InsidetheU” sports site published an article surrounding business tycoon and billionaire John Ruiz’s newest endeavor, a 50,000 seat stadium within minutes of UM. One small detail: the site of said stadium would be on the campus of our very school.

In an instant after reading the piece, I felt a wave of panic that the magic of Gables I had come to know could be gone with just the signing of a check. The headline seemed so nonchalant, as if all would benefit from that change; that could not be farther from the truth.

Converting our school would not only destroy that 70 years of the rich history and culture that Gables currently fosters, but it would further reinforce the idea that communities vital to minorities and low-income residents are at the whim of any billionaire that comes across them.

Even though the concept of this construction seems ideal to the nearly 10,000 UM students that signed the petition in support, they — along with the project’s developers — fail to recognize that its creation would impact not only students but faculty, teachers and the community itself.

In a Title I school like Gables made up of primarily low-income and minority students, establishing unnecessary hurdles in attaining an education will only deepen the class disparities already heavily prevalent in Miami. The inevitable displacement of students with this project would add another level of volatility to receiving an education, potentially deterring students from attending school altogether. Many students would have their lives completely uprooted with this change of routine, and unfortunately, our public school district lacks the funding to ensure that each and every student is properly taken care of during this transition.

It is certainly not a coincidence that one of the most diverse schools in the county is being targeted as a project of the “renovations” and is put aside as an afterthought. This plan is not only an attack on the history of our school, but is a classic case of billionaire entitlement: failing to consider any ramifications of their actions on the areas they destroy to create their own personal playgrounds.

Although this may be just petty cash to Ruiz, I would be remiss to forget that our school is currently undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation plan already, with funding to improve the school’s facilities coming from a number of sources: including community members. Our newest building has only been standing for several months and it would be an utter disrespect to those that contributed to the project to tear it down so soon after its construction.

Even if the project’s projections that have yet to be released do not reflect that Gables’ buildings need to be torn down, removing the school’s athletic facilities (even temporarily so) would damage the environment of the school, detracting from the well-rounded experience that Gables currently has to offer.

“I do not believe the stadium could even be built, but I am still really angry because this is obviously just a trivial pleasure for Ruiz, who isn’t even a UM faculty member. He only sees this school as a number and a convenience,” senior Paulina Texier said.

Despite the fact that Gables currently has the support of Coral Gables Mayor Vince Lago and received Twitter confirmation from Superintendent Carvalho that this plan was not going to be considered, with Carvalho’s forthcoming departure from the school district, it is difficult to foresee whether or not the plan will be approved after all. Ruiz stated they have already received support from “community leaders”, yet no specifics have been revealed at this time.

To Ruiz, I would like to ask: please be aware of the ramifications of your actions on our beloved community. This might be hard for you to understand, but throwing money at something just to make things more convenient for you actually has consequences. We might not be able to stop you from going through with this plan, but I can assure you that we will put up a fight to protect our home.