Memorial Field at Elgin High getting a major makeover
The Memorial Field makeover is under way.
Construction began two weeks ago on the recently approved $4.6 million renovation of the 59-year-old Elgin High School facility.
The overhaul includes reconstruction of the bleachers, press box, fencing, playing surface and track, Elgin Area School District U-46 Director of School and Community Relations Mary Fergus said.
"This will give Elgin High School something to be proud of," Elgin athletic director Paul Pennington said. "We're really looking forward to it and enthusiastic about it."
A new artificial playing surface replaces the grass field, which took a beating every fall because the football and boys soccer teams from both Elgin and Larkin played home games on it.
"Obviously, our old field wasn't in the greatest condition with two teams playing on it all year long," Elgin junior quarterback Jeffery Lomax said. "This is a great opportunity for us. I feel like this will be a great chance for us to showcase our speed and our cuts."
"Players are able to move a bit more quickly," Larkin football coach Matt Gehrig said of a synthetic surface. "It is more consistent throughout the season, not as affected by rain as the natural surface."
Artificial turf opens the stadium for uses beyond sporting events and marching band competitions, the district said.
The work is being done by Chicago-based F.H. Paschen, S.N. Nielsen. Through Saturday crews had dismantled the press box and demolished the visitors bleachers, track, long jump runway and high jump area.
The project is scheduled to be nearly completed by August and completely finished by early October.
Money for the work is coming from the operations and maintenance funds in this year's school district budget, Fergus said. The project includes $284,000 for additional lighting, $62,000 for security cameras, $44,000 for a concrete walkway and $87,000 for a new polyurethane track. The existing track was installed in the early 1990s.
Cracks have developed in the concrete beneath the home bleachers, built in 1961. Water leaks into the locker rooms below as a result. The cracks will be grinded and sealed.
This is the latest in a series of upgrades to athletic facilities at District U-46 high schools. Bartlett debuted an on-campus stadium complex in 2018. Lighting and a press box were among the additions to South Elgin's athletic complex in 2019.