Lisle, Illinois ~The Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex stadium field is receiving a facelift this month as landscapers tear up the old, worn playing surface and replace it with new, performance-enhancing turf.
The Sports Complex opened in 2004 and hosts University, Lisle High School and Benet Academy football, soccer and lacrosse matches as well as dozens of other community and high school events. Last year, more than 250 games were played at the Sports Complex.
Over time, the fibers of the original artificial turf broke down through repeated use and weathering, negatively impacting the integrity of the playing surface and prompting the need for the upgrade, said Lou Simios, director of Sports Complex operations at Benedictine.
"Each program or outside group that uses the turf has a certain expectation," Simios said. "In order for us to sustain a reputation for having and maintaining an exceptional facility, replacing the turf is necessary. The turf sees non-stop action nearly 10 months out of the year. Between youth, high school and college football, soccer and lacrosse, practices, games, camps and band competitions, the field is in constant use.
"With the heavy schedule, updating the field is necessary for the quality of play and safety of all participants," he added. "The bottom line is that this replacement will keep the reputation of the Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex as a quality athletic venue intact, and provide an even more favorable location for big-time athletic events in the Chicago area."
Shaw Industries, Inc. of Dalton, Ga., the world's largest carpet manufacturer and maker of Shaw Sportexe Turf Systems, is the provider of the new surface. The company said its product is specifically designed to enhance player speed and performance while providing maximum player safety.
Construction begins June 11 and is expected to be completed by July 6.
"We are very excited about the new state-of-the art athletic field," said Benedictine head football coach Jon Cooper. "This not only gives us a newer, safer surface, but it will also be an extremely attractive and comfortable field to play and practice on. We are very fortunate to have an administration that supports upgrading our facilities."
Having the new turf is also expected to give student-athletes an edge, said Jason Burr, head coach of Benedictine's women's soccer team.
"It will give us a more natural feel that will replicate playing the game on a grass surface, which is very important for us," Burr said. "This remarkable surface will give Benedictine student-athletes a home-field advantage, and more importantly, the opportunity to train and compete on a first-class facility which will truly enrich their collegiate athletic experience."
Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 55 undergraduate majors and 15 graduate and four doctoral programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 1 among the country's fastest-growing campuses between 2002-2012 in The Chronicle of Higher Education's list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the fourth consecutive year in 2014. Benedictine University's Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain's Chicago Business as the sixth largest in the Chicago area in 2014.