With soccer game, restored Jackman Field makes debut Saturday


Abigaël Thinakaran

MARKING OUR TURF. The grass on Jackman field has ben replaced with marked turf, which should be ready by Sept. 15. A jogging track will ring the soccer field.

Mira Costello, Midway Reporter

When the boys soccer team runs onto Jackman Field this Saturday, players and fans will hardly recognize it: the months-long project to install artificial turf, a jogging track and improved lighting is almost complete.

Since development began in June, athletes, coaches and students have anticipated the renovation of the area that many have seen remain the same for years. According to Athletic Director David Ribbens, the donor-funded project should be completed on time this week Sept. 14.

To recognize the field’s reopening, a two-part celebration will be held this Saturday, Sept. 15, consisting of soccer games at 10 a.m. and a movie for Lab families at 7:30 p.m.

The new field boasts multiple upgrades, namely “state of the art artificial turf,” Mr. Ribbens said.

Though some students initially expressed concern about the new turf material being hazardous to players, Mr. Ribbens emphasized that the substrate “allows for a safer, more level playing surface for soccer and all physical education activities.”

According to the Lab website newsletter, the previous field was not suitable for the heavy use the field receives, and the new turf will also “withstand … Chicago’s harsh climate.” The administration expects that the remodel will prevent activities from being moved off the field or canceled.

Mr. Ribbens added that the field and its new three-lane track, bleachers and LED stadium lighting will be utilized by students and physical education classes of all ages, not just certain athletes. He also expects the baseball team to practice on the IHSA regulation-size field during the spring season.

Senior Jacob Beiser, varsity midfielder, has been anticipating the field’s opening with excitement.

“I’ve been watching its progress from the beginning, and I never could’ve imaged that it would turn out so well,” he said. “I hope it gets people excited to come to our games this season.”