The Turf Initiative: Enhancing the Loyola Academy Athletic Experience
Beginning August 2021, Loyola Academy will move ahead with plans to replace two synthetic turf athletic fields at the Theodore G. Munz, SJ, Campus, a 60-acre site in Glenview that is home to the school’s practice and competition fields in soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, baseball, softball, and cross country. The project is part of the larger Turf and Athletic Enhancement Initiative, an endeavor that began in 2020 with a $1.3M goal to update a total of three athletic fields: one on the school’s main campus in Wilmette and two at the Munz Campus in Glenview.
The first phase of the project was completed in June 2020 with the successful replacement of the turf on Hoerster Field at Loyola’s main campus in Wilmette, where the previous synthetic field was first installed in 2009. While every effort was made to extend the field’s lifespan, by 2017 the fibers had become fatigued and the original infill was compacted. Loyola partnered with Midwest Sport and Turf Systems, among whose clients include Millikin University, Lake Forest College, and Washington University, to select an ideal replacement that was safe, durable and cost-effective. In late spring of 2020, Loyola unveiled its new 52 oz. weighted turf, the thickest available, at Hoerster Field. It features a mix of long and short fibers, a shock pad, and Nike Grind crumb rubber infill—derived from shoes, not tires.
With updates complete at the Wilmette campus, fundraising is currently underway to replace the two remaining synthetic turf fields at the Munz Campus in Glenview to benefit Loyola’s soccer, lacrosse and field hockey programs. Since 2020, 51 donors have raised nearly $700,000 toward the initiative’s overall goal of $1.3M. Approximately $600,000 remains to complete the fields at the Munz Campus. To support the Turf Initiative, click here.
The synthetic turf to be installed on the Munz Campus will feature 2.0” fibers and a 42 oz. weight, with a rounded silica sand and styrene-butadiene-rubber (SBR) infill material. It will utilize the MST-Pro-Blend, a combination of two different fibers designed to maximize player ability. Notably, the replacement turf will incorporate the same materials and technology used at the U.S. National Soccer Training Facility in Kansas City and the Chicago Fire Training Facility in Bridgeview, Illinois.
The fibers used in the MST-Pro-Blend are tencate monofilament and slit-film fibers. Monofilament fibers are designed for playability. Diamond-shaped and standing upright, they allow both soccer and lacrosse players to use the mechanics of “getting under the ball” in soccer and “scooping” the ball in lacrosse. The slit-film fibers provide unparalleled durability and help to reduce “infield splash.” The MST-Pro-Blend has the highest tuft bind—ability to pull fibers from the backing-measured in pounds—in the industry, as supported through independent testing.
The project is slated to begin in August 2021 with the replacement of the first of two fields at the Munz Campus.
Impact and Opportunities
The new turf and athletic enhancements will benefit thousands of Rambler athletes, physical education students and summer campers each year. The Marching Band will enjoy increased practice time on the field. Prospective students will gain greater exposure to Loyola through football games in the stadium. An annual expense of $10,000 for Loyola Academy to rent West Park for additional practice space will be eliminated. Increased rental opportunities exist for outside groups such as FC United, Summit Lacrosse, Denison University, True Lacrosse, Windy City Field Hockey, and more.