Construction is now underway at New Trier's Northfield Campus to install synthetic turf at Robert Naughton Field and two intramural play fields to the east.
The New Trier Booster Club, meanwhile, has set a lofty goal to raise $1 million to help fund the project.
“The Booster Club pledge is an extraordinary gift to our students and residents,” said Randy Oberembt, New Trier athletic director.
According to a posting on the New Trier High School website, the Booster Club states “Synthetic turf will allow the district to increase the use of the stadium from about 250 hours a year-all in the spring and fall-to more than 2,000 hours a year, with activities scheduled throughout summer.”
The announcement goes on to specifically say that intramural sports and Kinetic Wellness classes, in addition to lacrosse and field hockey, will have greater access to the field once the project is completed.
The reason synthetic turf is being installed at Northfield, and not at the Winnetka campus, is due to lighting availability.
“The amenities at the Northfield Campus already in place just make more sense, the turf will have the most utility there,” said Oberembt. “It was determined that the lighting [at the Northfield Campus] would better support future activities."
There is currently no lighting at the Winnetka Campus, and Oberembt said he is unaware of any immediate plans to install it.
A wide variety of students will benefit from the new turf fields.
“There is the curricular piece, the intramural and interscholastic athletics, in addition to other future teams coming from the Winnetka Campus and potentially people living in the District 203 community,” Oberembt said.
The discussion about installing synthetic turf has been a long one, dating back to 2003.
Then is when, according to Oberembt, the first committee was formed to explore the viability of synthetic turf installation.
The conversation continued until 2007 when an additional committee determined the best place to install the turf would be at the Northfield campus.
Curricular sports for ninth graders at the Northfield campus will utilize the turf during school days, Oberembt said, while varsity sports such as soccer and football teams from both campuses also will share the fields.
“Though it is a shared usage plan, a good amount of sports at the Winnetka campus will stay there,” Oberembt said.
The New Trier Booster Club is actively seeking donations to support their fundraising goal to reach $1 million over the next three years.
Though a specific number wasn't available, Oberembt said the entire cost of the project is in excess of $1 million.