By FRANKIE CORRADO ’18
Over the summer, several changes and additions have been made to the College’s Athletic Department to improve the facilities and programs on campus. Jackie Slaats, the Director of Athletics, met with Stentor staff to share insightful information regarding these additions and how they impact Forester Athletics
The Farwell Field turf was replaced, now featuring a different center Forester logo and brighter school-colored strands sewn in.
“A new synthetic turf was installed in 2004 with a 10-year warranty. Since then we have been able to increase use and revenue exponentially,” said Slaats. “The original turf installment was 1.2 million dollars. To replace it now only cost 400,000 dollars.”
Farwell Field first opened in 1903 for both the Forester Football and Baseball Team. Up until 2004, the field was grass-only, which was more expensive because it required constant maintenance for the little usage it served. According to Slaats, Farwell Field was only used on game days for the Forester Football Team after the Forester Baseball Team was discontinued.
Once the turf was installed, it allowed not only the Forester Football Team to practice and play on the field, but also the Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Rugby, and Lacrosse Teams both for in-season and non-traditional play.
In addition, Farwell Field’s turf allows the College to have the ability to generate revenue during the summer for different types of sports camps, while not having to hire an entire grounds staff to maintain the field, Slaats shares.
Slaats also notes that the old scoreboard on Farwell Field was replaced with a new one due to the outdated lighting boards, which will be used on all game days.
Another improvement made to the Athletic Department was the installation of a dehumidification system in the Ice Rink. Prior to installment, the workers had trouble keeping the ice cold on warm days in the fall, along with the glass continuously steaming up and the constant challenge of keeping it well maintained throughout the winter time.
“The installment cost 150,000 dollars, and allow us to lay the ice slightly ahead of schedule and keep it maintained with less hassle than before,” Slaats notes.
Along with the improvements to the athletic facilities, a new varsity sport has been added this year: Distance Track & Field. According to Jackie Slaats, Lake Forest College had a Track and Field program from 1955 to 1979.
As stated by prior Athletics Director and current Handball and Football Coach, Michael Dau ’58, the College dropped track in 1979 due to issues with Title IX and lack of resources. The College did not have a track to run on at the time, so the team practiced indoors and at the Lake Forest Academy before it was discontinued.
The College’s current head coach of the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Team, Dan Simpson, and assistant coach, Ciara Kissane, will both coach Track & Field with the same positions.
Frankie Corrado can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org