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The student news site of Lake Forest Academy

The Spectator

The student news site of Lake Forest Academy

The Spectator

Take a look inside the new LFA Athletic Center

As the school year is starting to come to a close, there is rising anticipation for the new Athletic Center to open in the coming year. The construction for this project has started at the beginning of this school year and will continue into August with the target date being Saturday the 10th. Right in time for the students’ arrival in the fall.

This project has been on the school’s agenda for a long time with there only having been one gym for 435 students in the school. 

There will be three main entrance points into the new building. The dance room will turn into a hallway entrance, another will come out of the weight room, and the last entrance is from behind the gym. Athletic Director Darrin Madeley shared the expansion will have, “Open concessions, hot boxes so that we can bring food from the student union dinners down” so that “kids can just grab food.” Which will be very beneficial to students who have busy practice schedules or later games. 

A worker cuts wood in the new gym. (Photo by Esti Rosenblatt)

The building will also feature a larger commons, couches, and an outdoor patio with a seating area similar to what is outside the student union. There are three basketball courts that can be converted into three volleyball courts. This space can also be configured into smaller courts such as nine badminton courts or nine pickleball courts. This also allows the courts to be a mixed match to suit the students and allow flexibility with sports. Furthermore, there will be an additional five squash courts.

The new addition of courts will have many benefits to student-athletes due to the timing of dinner and second slot gym practices. Volleyball player Riley Mormon ’26 said, “The cafeteria is open from 4:45-6:30 pm and the late practice runs from 5-6:30 pm.” Allowing for barely any time for students to grab dinner. She also shared it will be very favorable for athletes in their off season to be able to get in more practice.

Many students were also hoping to include locker rooms in the athletic expansion. Two locker rooms were added, one being used for girls Volleyball, girl’s Basketball, and girl’s Badminton. With the other being used for girl’s Tennis, boy’s Basketball, and boy’s Volleyball.

“There will also be a TV in the locker because now every indoor game has livebarn” So teams can look over footage together, said Madeley.

A worker rises to get a better view of the squash courts. (Photo by Esti Rosenblatt)

The second floor of the expansion overlooks the courts and includes a new gym, cardio equipment including pelatons, a three-lane track, and an alumni room which can be used for meetings and team dinners. 

The current glore gym which holds fond memories for many students will be repurposed into a turf field. Current student and soccer player Sy Rosenblatt ‘25 said he “looks forward to the new gyms’ overhead, indoor lighting that the current soccer fields lack.” While he doesn’t know what the hours or rules will be he hopes that the team will be able to play later into the night.

In terms of finances, this new building will run very differently compared to the rest of LFA’s campus. In a walk-through of the building’s funding plan, Mike Reidy, LFA’s Chief Financial Officer, dictated that the main difference is “the Gym is only partly funded by gifts and donations,” Other buildings around campus, such as the Health Center built in 2023, were constructed and designed solely with help from donations and gifts. Gifts make up only 41 percent- 7.5 million dollars- of the new Athletic Centers funding. Last year’s Gala raised about 900,000 of that 7.5 million. For the rest, LFA turned to tax-free bonds. LFA is a tax-free organization which adds incentive to issuing bonds. The school bond of 10 million dollars was bought by Northern Trust. The bond will last for 30 years. Reidy explained, “Though the other buildings don’t borrow money, this building is different because it does have money making potential.” This 10 million will not loom over LFA because of the Athletic Centers ability to generate auxiliary funds. Funds could come from renting the gym out to other teams or using it as a camp space in the Summer. Reidy says that any money the gym makes will be used to pay off its debt.  

Students are incredibly excited to experience and use the new gymnasium. With new indoor training spaces such as turf fields and track, athletes will be better equipped to practice and play during their offseason. Squash courts on campus could lead to further success for LFA’s champion squash team. Starting next fall, students will enjoy the benefits of countless hours spent building, funding and designing the gym for years to come.

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Esti Rosenblatt, Managing Editor of Production
Mimi Sexton, Managing Editor of Features and Social Media

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