New Turf Fields


Completed turf fields

Throughout the past couple of years, Lake Forest Academy has made it a priority to
constantly update and modernize the campus. In the summer of 2018, Lake Forest Academy
embarked on a project that would completely shift the dynamic of athletics at LFA: the addition
of turf fields. During the long summer months of assembling the new fields, outside contractors
worked tirelessly mobilizing construction efforts. From workers excavating the fields to the
LFA’s groundskeeping team putting the final touches, the making of the new turf fields was an
extremely meticulous project.

New turf fields have been in the works for several years. Having grass fields requires plenty
of care and maintenance, creating many inconveniences for LFA. According to Athletic Director
Mr. Darrin Madeley, it was time for a change.

“Last spring we had 93 cancellations due to weather. Now we will able to play games that
usually would have been cancelled. Not only is it logistically easier, but it gives us flexibility that
we’ve never had before” said Madeley.

Primarily, the turf fields will be utilized for lacrosse, softball, and field hockey, but will also be
used by soccer if weather becomes an issue. Prior to the addition of the turf fields, cancellations
for fall and spring sports were almost a guarantee. Now, the turf can prevent that from
happening. Not only will the fields help avoid cancellations, but will enhance the athletic
experience at LFA.

One of the men behind the scenes, Mr. Pat Dolan played an essential role to the creation of
the fields. He was involved in the process every step of the way, from the contractors, to the
operators, and finally monitoring the construction. Dolan was very involved in the daily affairs
of the new fields.

“Every day in the summer, the contractors would get here around 6 AM. Operators and
construction crews worked nonstop from 7 Am to 3:30 PM. After the outside contractors were
finished, that’s when the LFA groundskeeping team put the finishing touches on it.” said Dolan.
Despite the turf fields coming together rather quickly, the project itself faced a variety of
challenges. According to Dolan, these challenges contributed to the fields being done a week

The biggest setback was the weather. We intended to start a week before graduation, but we
had to let it sit for three weeks because the ground was too wet” said Dolan.

Besides starting a week late, the turf fields was a relatively smooth process. There were two
vendors working diligently working side by side. The first vendor, specialized in digging up the
soil. When the grass was fully excavated, the second vendor, “field turf” stepped into complete
the process. Outside of weather, the two contractors had no hiccups along the way. However,
according to chief financial advisor Mike Reidy, the formation of the fields was a very tedious

“There were several steps into making these fields. First, we had to excavate the soil and then
place a very compact layer of clay as the base. Secondly, we had to put several drainage pipes
above that, and a smooth rock surface above the pipes. After that was complete, we were then
able to put down the turf” said Reidy.

Alluded to earlier, field hockey is the first team to fully experience the fields firsthand.
According to junior field hockey player, Jade Steger, the turf is a massive upgrade from their old
grass field.

“It was really exciting to walk on the turf for the first time. It’s so much easier to play on than
the grass fields. We haven’t lost a game yet on the turf, and we plan to keep it that way” said Steger.