Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Athletic Facilities Developments

Meeting Outlines Athletics’ Future
Harrison Hohman –  News Editor

January 29, Athletic Director, Jon Borer held a meeting which made the department’s long term plans public and enlightened the attendees regarding the future of Mount Michael football, soccer and athletics as a whole. Several members of the Project Home Field Advantage committee were in attendance including facilities director Jim Lewis, head soccer coach Kevin Grey and head of school Dr. David Peters. Borer described the plans for advancing the school’s athletic facilities to roughly 25 interested parents, coaches and benefactors.

After welcoming the attendees, Borer began the presentation with a video he made of students and administration giving their reasons for why they wanted a new sports field. Many of the students’ responses echoed one another, each claiming that the new field would be a massive boost to the players morale, all of whom have never played a game at “home,” or “under the lights.” Administrators, meanwhile, spoke about the recruiting advantage a new stadium would bring: nicer facilities, more people visiting the campus, and a sense of growth, potentially bringing more students to Mount Michael.

Following the movie, Borer then went through each of the four planned phases, giving a price, timeline, and explanation for each. Phase 1, Borer explained, has already been completed, at a cost of $61,900. This step involved widening the soccer field, which had previously used illegal dimensions, moving the jumping pits for track, and building the new storage press box.

Phase II, which has yet to be completed, will allow Mount Michael to play host to varsity football games by adding sidewalks, bleachers, fencing, a scoreboard and a new sound system. This phase will cost roughly $136,000, although over $31,000 of this has already been raised.

Phase III will allow Mount Michael’s teams to play home games at night by adding a new lighting system, estimates for which have been around $74,500.

The first three of the four total phases could be completed in the next few years. However, the fourth and final phase may take decades to be realized.

This final step, also the final part of the capital campaign, involves building an entirely new football stadium east of the current school, returning the soccer field to its original purpose.

One audience member was curious why the plan didn’t include artificial turf, and why money was being spent on two fields. Borer explained that the costs of turf ruled out an artificial field, and due to wear and tear, it would be impossible to permanently host both football and soccer on the same grass field.

To conclude the meeting, Borer issued an ultimatum: if enough money can be raised for phase II by March 1, Mount Michael will host its first ever home football games next fall, While night games ‘under the lights’ won’t be a reality next fall, making Phase II happen would be a step forward for a school that has never played a varsity football game at its true “home.”

Mount Michael Initiates Upgrade of Athletic Facilities
Oliver Jarosik – Staff Writer

Picture this: You’ve been practicing for months. Through the two-a-days, hours of lifting, and rigorous studying of the playbook day in and day out, you’ve endured. It’s finally game day and you’re ready to make your school proud. After a good pep talk from the coach, you hit the field. And it’s at this moment, as the Friday night lights hit your face, you realize that it’s great to be a Knight.

It’s a feeling that some Knights have dreamt of for a long time, running on to their own home fi eld. Mount Michael has never been able to hold their own home football games at the school due to the lack of stands and lighting. For the past three decades, the home games have been played at Elkhorn Middle School. Also, the Mount has to pay a fee every season in order to play there. It’s nice that the middle school is decently close to the school, but it’s still an inconvenience.

However, recently there have been rumors going around about the athletic department getting money to have lights and stands installed at the field on campus. On January 10, Athletic Director and football coach, Jon Borer, met with the booster club to explore the idea of putting in lights on the football and soccer field. According to Borer the idea was well received and there is a possibility that Mount Michael will be able to host its own first home game next year.

“There are many benefits to having your own field,” says Borer. “We won’t have to pay rent to Elkhorn Middle School, concessions will bring in a ton of revenue, and overall there’s nothing like playing on your own home field.” Many other students and faculty believe that bringing the home games home will increase popularity for the school and increase moral for the football team. “Anytime we improve our athletic facilities it will benefit the school and the students,” says assistant football coach Matt Luettel.

In addition to improving the field, the athletic department is already underway on a new weight room facility.

This past fall, construction crews began work on a new garage for the monastic community so that the older garage could be converted into a bigger weight room. As of right now, the new garage is completed and the new weight room is filled with unassembled new equipment. “We have a ton of new machines that are laying in pieces in the new weight room. There’s about $200,000 of equipment that was donated.” The new weight room will be open to students when the weather starts getting warmer. Open times are still being discussed by the deans and coaches.

Overall, this year can be summed up as the ‘Year of Athletics.’ The many advancements that have been done should help the Knights improve athletically. Perhaps in a few short years Mount Michael athletics will match its academic achievements.