The St. John Vianney High School Board of Directors has approved a significant stadium improvement project calling for the installation of synthetic field turf on Don Heeb Field, resurfacing the track and the completion of other stadium improvements.
Work will begin in May, with completion expected in early August, the school president said.
Mike Loyet, the President of Vianney, noted that these stadium improvements are just the latest in a series of improvements made to the school’s educational facilities.
In recent years, the school has made investments of more than $7 million in its academic programs through various construction and renovation projects at the campus. These projects include the construction of a new Educational Wing, a new Leadership Center, and a new Technology Center. Vianney will continue to invest heavily in the future in its academic programs and facilties, Loyet said.
Funds have also been invested in significant classroom improvements such as new windows, improved lighting, a new HVAC system and new flooring.
Funds have also been allocated for professional development opportunities for Vianney faculty and staff, as well as investments in the school’s Scholarship Fund, according to Rick Davis, Chair of the Vianney Board of Directors.
“The stadium project is the next item on a list of improvements we have planned for through our master plan. Our first priority was always to make necessary enhancements to the academic programs at Vianney. It was through the generosity of a handful of donors that we are able to make changes at the stadium. Our plan is to make Vianney's athletic stadium experience for our student-athletes, our coaches, alumni, parents and fans one of the absolute best in the St. Louis area.”
- Mr. Rick Davis, Chair of Vianney's Board of Directors
There were many factors that went into the decision to make changes at the stadium. Don Heeb Field, named for the longtime Vianney Football coach and athletic director, was a grass field that quickly showed wear and tear as the fall seasons were played. The field is only used from September to early November, in addition to a few lacrosse games in the spring. By late October, the field surface is usually in extremely poor condition.
In fact, the condition of the field limited Vianney at times, as home playoff soccer games had to be moved in recent years to off-campus venues such as the Soccer Park, according to Terry Cochran, Vianney's Director of Athletics.
“The Stadium Field project will provide a quality practice and game environment for all Vianney students.”
- Mr. Terry Cochran, Vianney's Director of Athletics
The track and field areas will also receive attention with new surface and improvements to other areas used for competition. The track has reached the end of its useful life, and is in need of resurfacing and striping, Cochran said. This new field benefits the other sports programs and the entire Vianney community, he said.
The field will provide the soccer program with much needed space for practice, and gives the football program additional practice space for all of its three teams – Freshman, Junior Varsity and Varsity teams. Vianney’s Lacrosse program will now have practice space on campus and be able to play a full schedule of home games, he added.
Another positive was that a turf field can be used year round by Vianney students, and can be rented to outside groups.
Many recent studies have shown that synthetic turf technology allows for safer fields that meet national GMAX ratings for concussion prevention.
“This project will significantly improve our facilities WITHOUT borrowing or having to conduct a capital campaign. This is in thanks to the generosity of a few key donors who have come forward to make an investment in our athletic facilities."
- Mike Loyet, Vianney President
You can follow the progress of this project at the school website - vianney.com and through our social media channels - on Youtube we are VianneySTL, on Facebook we are vianneygriffins, and on Twitter we are @vianneygriffins.
MIKE LOYET TALKS ABOUT THE STADIUM FIELD PROJECT IN THIS VIDEO