Do we know who is responsible for the Field of Dreams?
The initial decision to construct the athletic fields was made in 1991 as a part of a decade long campaign to ready the school for the year 2000 and beyond. “The athletic-field is the last component of our capital campaign,” said Tom Landers – school superintendent, in an article written by Tom O’Konowrrz for the Daily Herald October 1999.
For years the student athletes of Marian Central Catholic High School could only dream of playing their games on home fields. Other than the schools football field, they always had to use the City of Woodstock’s facilities or play their games away because Marian’s facilities were limited. The school announced in 1999 that donations to their capital project surpassed the goal of $1.75 million after a one year campaign of seeking contributions.
Field of Dreams occupies 27 acres of land across from the school on Route 120 in Woodstock, IL. It is comprised of four tennis courts, competition softball and baseball fields, a six lane all weather running track, a soccer stadium, three practice fields, concession stand, press boxes, scoreboards and 200 parking spaces.
“Three of the fields were named in honor of people who made outstanding contributions to the campaign and Marian Central during its history” Landers said. Honorary chairmen of the fundraising campaign Mr. Raymond Benoy of Woodstock and Mr. Thomas F. Bolger of McHenry have fields named after them. Benoy on the softball field and Bolger on the baseball field. The soccer-track-and-field facility bear the name of Peter A. Baker to thank him for all of his contributions through out the years.
The land has wells for its irrigation system for the fields and the concession stand, it also includes underground sprinkling systems and electrical lines. The practice fields do not have sprinklers.
The 27 acres for the fields were purchased in January of 1999 by the McHenry County Catholic Education Foundation, with the understanding that Marian would buy it from them within five years after collecting all of their pledges.
HR Green (formally Smith Engineering) in McHenry Illinois was responsible for all the site design and surveying services required to complete this project, as well as all of the permitting and coordination with local and state permitting agencies. Also included in their scope of services was the wetland delineation and coordination to incorporate protection of existing wetlands areas and water quality basins needed for storm water management within the project limits. – per their website.
Parking facilities and storm water management areas were also designed by HR Green as a part of the project. The retention/detention basin around the sports complex were designed to incorporate the overall needs of the high school while meeting the design standards for the City of Woodstock and McHenry County.
In the last years when winter ends and spring sports begin it is obvious there is a need for water runoff maintenance and storm water management on the fields, retention/detention ponds and parking lot entrance. We see Coaches volunteering their personal time to pump water off of the fields with large fire hoses and send the water to the special retention areas. Sometimes our student athletes are needed to help with wet dry vacuums and leaf blowers on game day to prepare the field for play.
Marian has seen its superintendent leadership change multiple times since Mr. Landers retired in 2015. In the fall of 2017 the long time Director of Building and Grounds, Joe Villanueva, also retired leaving no written standard of operations for maintaining the athletic fields. Since the retirement of the Superintendent and the Director of Building and Grounds – all but one employee has left Marian Central in that department – Mr. Bob Glascott. As a matter of fact, Marian has seen a 100% turn over in administration and its support staff since 2015.
Who is taking care of the operations at Field of Dreams? The Athletic Director? The Director of Building and Grounds? Who knows?