Returfing and other renovations are taking place at Evanston Township High School’s Lazier Field. The overhaul on the football field is scheduled for completion by mid-August.
Nearly a foot of the soil on top of the field has been taken out and replaced by a mixture of concrete and stone, over which the artificial turf will be placed, Athletic Director Chris Livatino said.
“The purpose and goal was really to provide our kids with the smoothest, safest field possible and the chance to play in any weather conditions,” Mr. Livatino said.
Other changes include the addition of lights for Friday night games. The first game under the lights is planned for the Wildkits’ opening home game, Sept. 12.
“We’re really excited,” Mr. Livatino said. “It’s really become the norm across Illinois, and our kids deserve the chance to play in the same exciting format.”
The environmental impact of the renovations was considered as well. Rainwater running off the artificial turf will be collected in rain barrels and used to irrigate other nearby playing fields, said Director of Operations Steve Grbavac. Dirt removed from Lazier Field to make way for the artificial turf will be put to use in regrading the other fields.
The renovations are part of a $4.2 million contract approved by the District 202 School Board to renovate several of the ETHS athletic fields. The costs of the renovations to Lazier Field itself will be about $1.15 million, said Mr. Grbavac.
The administration hopes the upgrades will save them money in the long run. While the maintenance of a traditional grass field costs between $45,000 and $55,000 per year, Mr. Livatino said, the artificial turf field will cost only about $5,000 a year to maintain. Grass fields require much upkeep, but the only major procedure performed on artificial fields is called grooming, “essentially running a large vacuum cleaner over the turf,” Mr. Livatino said.
When renovations are finished, the field will be fitted as a common field and shared among non-football youth sports on Saturdays and Sundays when the football team is not playing or practicing. AYSO, Junior Wildkits and Evanston Youth Lacrosse will all be able to use the field, Mr. Livatino said.
The field was renamed after former ETHS football coach Murney Lazier last year. “Now we’re going to have the best field to honor the best coach,” Mr. Livatino said.