Turf: Answered Prayers
Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Mo.
By Laura Pennino
Administrators, coaches and students at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Mo., know that prayers really are answered and miracles do happen—even when it comes to new athletic fields and winning state championship titles!
Father Terrence A. Baum, S.J., president of this Jesuit preparatory school with an enrollment of 1,066 students and a staff of 85 in Kansas City, and Athletic Director Peter Campbell faced the challenge of upgrading the Rockhurst High School athletic field during the summer of 2010 before the beginning of the new academic year. The warranty on the existing field had expired. Estimates to repair and maintain the old field would have been as high as $80,000, making a new field more cost-effective.
All but one of the construction companies that Rockhurst High School considered for the project estimated a four- to six-week turnaround at best and indicated that the installation would have to wait until after football season.
Delaying or extending the renovation process was unacceptable for a variety of reasons. The Rockhurst High School athletic program has been ranked by Sports Illustrated Magazine in recent years as one of the Top 10 high school athletic programs in the nation. Rockhurst is defined as a Class 6 school by the Missouri State High School Activities Association, meaning that it competes against the largest high schools in Missouri during state competition. Rockhurst has won 34 state championships in the past 10 years.
About half of the student population participates in organized team sports at Rockhurst High School. The athletic field is heavily used almost year-round by football, soccer and lacrosse teams in addition to physical education classes and softball games as part of the P.E. program. The turf field also serves as a practice facility for the baseball and track and field teams when their grass field is unplayable due to weather conditions.