Loyola College Prep will add still another jewel to its Athletic Complex with the addition of synthetic grass to Messmer Stadium beginning in the 2010?11 school year.
Built in 2002, Messmer Stadium is home to football, lacrosse and boys and girls soccer teams. Including freshman / junior varsity games and spirit groups, about half of Loyola’sstudent body uses the Messmer Stadium surface during the school year.
The synthetic grass was made possible by private donations, including a lead gift by Daryl & Marlene Fultz.
"Marlene and I are thrilled to be a part of something that will help take Loyola to next level, both academically and athletically," Fultz said. "The great part of this project is that it
helps so many students in so many ways. The benefits will be felt for many years to come."
But the improvements don’t stop there. With the new project, the size of the soccer and lacrosse field will be enlarged to better conform to each sport’s standard field width. In
addition, new visitor bleachers are being added to the East side of Messmer Stadium.
The project will also allow the practice field (located behind the home bleachers at Messmer Stadium) to be upgraded as well.
"I am pleased that the money spent annually on upkeep of a grass field can now be used elsewhere in the educational program,” Loyola Principal Frank Israel said. “As an example, next
year Loyola will hire an additional half?time math teacher with just part of the money spent annually on the paint used to lay out the grass field. These real dollars will make a difference to the total educational program."
The Loyola Athletic Complex, built entirely with private funding during the last eight years, also has lighted facilities for baseball (Cicero Field), softball (St. Vincent’s Field), a covered practice facility for both sports and the Hundley Field House, a 10,000?square foot building which hosts a weight room with updated equipment for all athletes, locker rooms for five sports, a training room and coaches’ offices.
Messmer Stadium was already in need of having its field reshaped and recrowned in addition to the need of major drainage repair before the 2010?11 school year. Combining the potential cost of that project with the savings derived from maintenance, upkeep and fieldpreparation, “the new surface will address those concerns, and furthermore, allow us to expand the surface to better accommodate not only football, but soccer and lacrosse, as well,” said Board President Steve Skrivanos. “As approximately half the Loyola student body uses thefield, either through athletic, cheerleading, or dancing pursuits, it is an investment in our children that will reap benefits for years to come.”
Hit hard by fall rains, four of Loyola’s home football games last year were affected by poor field conditions. That created issues as soccer season continued, ultimately resulting in three important home soccer games being forced to be moved to other locations.
Messmer Stadium is host to about 60 events per year, including middle school football games. Only a handful of schools in the state have a home stadium with a synthetic grass surface.
“The great thing about this is how it will benefit so many teams,” said Athletic Director Jerry Peyton. “Since we use Messmer Stadium year round, the wear and tear has made it difficult to keep the playing surface maintained, but it will also reduce the risk of injury due to poor field conditions. Plus, we have the ability to have even more events at our field.”
“Our players know that Messmer Stadium has always been a special place to play,” said Flyer football coach Steven Geter. “But this takes it to another level. We will take a great deal of
pride in having one of the best facilities in the state as our own.”
Geter will lead his team onto the new field for the first home game on Sept. 17 when the Flyers play host to Many.
The surface is being installed by Vibra?Whirl Sports of Texas with an estimated completion date of late July.