Hear from two of our Owners on the addition/renovation of Lake Central High School athletic spaces:
Dr. Larry Veracco, Superintendent of the Lake Central School Corporation
Dr. Larry Veracco is in his 8th year as Superintendent at LCSC. He has spent 24 years serving the community as teacher, assistant principal, and Assistant Superintendent prior to his current role. Over the past decade, numerous upgrades to the district’s 10 schools and two support facilities have been completed.
Bill Ledyard, Director of Facilities at Lake Central School Corporation
Bill Ledyard is in his 10th year as the Lake Central Director of Construction and Facilities. Prior to Lake Central he spent over 20 years as a Project Manager, Senior Project Manager, and Director of Construction working on numerous projects throughout the United States.
What role do athletics play for your school corporation?
All our extracurriculars are extremely important to us as an organization and to our community. As we try to develop well-rounded graduates, athletics play a huge role in our effort. We’ve found students who connect to the school beyond the classroom get better grades, behave better, and connect with staff or coaches better. Historically, we’ve had high participation rates in our athletic program, and our goal is to maintain or increase those rates. The new spaces allow us to do that.
How often are the facilities used ‘after hours’ and what’s the impact it has on the community?
Let’s talk about the pool first. We put a lot of pressure on the Schmidt Associates’ project team to have the pool as part of phase 1 because of our giant swim club and community demands. The pool is used all day: starting with the Masters program in the morning, followed by preschool classes and the High School teams. The Club Team then practices from 4-8pm each weekday evening. It’s the most heavily used facility we have on our campus.
The fieldhouse provided us with the opportunity for more student and community engagement. We now can have intramural volleyball teams, and we’ve hosted various fundraisers in this space. The spaces is also equipped with tennis standards, giving the teams free indoor practice space during the offseason. The community is also able to use the space for walking 2 days a week. Due to temperatures, they’ve asked us to extend it a few more weeks till April 30th which we are accommodating.
Let’s talk about your outdoor facilities?
I brag all the time about the turf baseball and softball because if you go out today, they look like they were installed last week. Our staff, students, and athletes have done a fantastic job of keeping the spaces beautiful. We never see garbage on them, and students even pick up leaves to put in the trash so they don’t get crushed into the turf.
The various athletic teams do a great job of working together to share the fields and keep everything nice. To help maintain our natural turf soccer field and give it a rest in July and August, the team can now put portable goals into the baseball outfield or football field for practice.
Did Lake Central School Corporation have any artificial turf before the High School? If no, what drove the decision to go with artificial turf and how do you like it?
We had natural turf fields prior to this project. The multi-use factor is what made us want to switch to artificial turf. There was a need for more outdoor PE class space and due to our climate, by the time natural fields were nice, the seasons were over.
Transitioning the football field was an easy choice because it is used so much. Prior to the artificial turf, the football field was always a sand lot by the end of the season, no matter what maintenance we did.
A bonus has been the significant decrease in our maintenance costs; whether it was dealing with crushed brick or weeds, all of that went away. And now we only get rained out if there is lightening or heavy rain on game day.
What feedback do you hear from the students, educators, and community about the athletic spaces at Lake Central High School?
We consistently hear from the community how nice the facilities are and they can’t believe they are actually ‘ours’. We continue to receive tremendous praise from the community that we did it right. All the new spaces receive compliments from our residents and guests.
We hosted the High School Basketball Sectionals for the first time in our high school’s history this past year. It was just the right size, even at 80-90% capacity. The atmosphere was electric, and we got praise for that by both the media and the fans of our opponents.
Not sure it fits into these questions, but the way Schmidt Associates helped us design the upgrades to make more spaces for our student athletes affects how they practice after school. We now can get them home for dinner and there is time later in the evening for out of season sports teams to workout.
The innovative, cost-effective, and functional designs developed by Schmidt Associates have resulted in cutting-edge spaces for our students and staff. The team listens to the our needs and wants and designs projects to accommodate their clients.
“Throughout my career, I’ve worked with many architectural firms. Working with Schmidt Associates on the Lake Central projects over the past decade has very rewarding.”
– Bill Ledyard