Field House improvements underway

Libertyville High School recently made the decision to redo the Field House, the all-purpose gym space used for most of the school’s sports and physical education classes. Construction on the Field House began in May and progressed according to schedule throughout the summer. 

According to LHS Athletic Director John Woods, the new space is going to “look a lot different.” The floor will have the maple color of a typical basketball court as opposed to the grey surface of the old Field House. The old floor was not a favorite among students.

Senior basketball player Dylan McCarty voiced this concern. “I’ve been playing basketball in the Field House since fifth grade. With the construction, I hope the floor is not as slippery because it’s like you’re ice skating in there,” he said. 

The currently dull, empty space of the Field House will soon be floored with the new Mondo surface.
(Ashley Sanchez)

This criticism is being addressed, as the new space will be floored with Mondo, a state-of-the-art, synthetic, vulcanized rubber surface. 

“Mondo will be a much better surface for indoor activities for physical education classes, athletic practices, and athletic competitions,” Woods said. “The old floor was a little slippery and bubbly from time to time. Now it will be flat and will definitely brighten up the place quite a bit.”

The addition of an HVAC system, which was absent in the old space, will be the “biggest and most noticeable” change, according to Woods. Without air conditioning, the bay doors had to be opened with large fans placed in their openings to help cool the space in the summer. These fans took up facility space and were potential hazards for athletes. 

Another change is that the outside of the new Field House will now feature three track lanes. The track will not be big enough to host meets, but it will allow the track teams to run on Mondo during their winter practices, rather than the school hallways. There will also be an addition of anchors in the ground that will allow the badminton team to set up nets and practice in the Field House. 

The projected timeline on the construction is between eight and ten months. If this holds true, the new Field House will be operational between the middle of January and the middle of March. However, this creates a potential issue: most winter sports teams use the Field House for a majority of their practices, and winter sport tryouts begin around Thanksgiving. 

McCarty thinks having a basketball season with no Field House “will be tough. I think we’ll have a lot of

Since May, the Field House has been inaccessible to students and staff as construction progresses. (Ashley Sanchez)

morning practices because we’ll have to share gym space with just the West Gym and Main Gym.” 

Woods agrees that the scheduling will “be a challenge.” However, the athletic department did coordinate unique practice schedules last school year, not for gym space limitations, but for capacity restrictions due to the pandemic. Last year, basketball practice time slots were lowered to an hour and 45 minutes to be able to fit three time slots in after school. Hour and 45 minute practices were added in the morning as well. With just two gyms for the beginning of the winter season, a similar schedule will have to be adopted. The cheer team also must be factored in, as they used the Field House for their practices as well.

Woods says, “Knowing that the light at the end of the tunnel is a new Field House, we’ll make the adjustments.” 

There will still be many aspects that are the same between the old Field House and new one. Even with the Mondo surface, there will still be three bays of courts. The baseball and softball teams will still be able to take advantage of the space by using the nets on the ceiling that can be lowered to the floor. Also, the Cardio Room will continue its operations once the Field House reopens.