by Graham Quinn
Over summer break, the school underwent several changes, both large and small.
The biggest change of the new school year is the installation of a new synthetic playing surface and track inside of Granger Stadium.
The six year-old turf on the field was worn and needed replacing. FieldTurf, the company that made the old field, gave the school the option to replace the current field, or upgrade to a better playing surface, the FieldTurf Revolution.
The FieldTurf Revolution is the best artificial turf available. By choosing the Revolution, the Granger Stadium field will be comparable to college football fields, such as Ole Miss and University of Virginia.
The new track will also be top of the line. The track being put in is the same track used at many colleges, including Rice University. The plain, boring clay colored track will soon be upgraded to a bright Eagle red.
Because of the renovation of the stadium, the football team has been practicing on the baseball field. The kickers, specifically, have not been able to practice due to the lack of goalposts.
The first game on the new field took place on Aug. 30, with the renovation of the track underway. The track is expected to be finished within two weeks, in early September.
The new track will be dedicated to former St. Thomas coach and counselor Jim Schwarzbach, who is also from the class of 1955. Schwarzbach was the track coach for over 30 years before retiring in 2004.
The names Hotze Field and Granger Stadium remain, and the Grangers, Hotzes, and Jim Schwarzbach will be honored in a dedication before the Sept. 21 game against Huffman Hargrave.
Another change is the addition of a statue of St. Basil the Great in the courtyard. The statue, which depicts St. Basil holding a dove and a Bible, was added over the summer, in honor of recently retired school President Rev. Ronald Schwenzer, C.S.B.
One of the most noticeable changes is the new look of the Learning Resource Center. The biggest change was the removal of the 24 desktop computers, which has allowed the layout to be reconfigured.
The layout is much more open and gives students the freedom to spread out. The extra space has been used to create an area for the new Learning Enrichment Center.
The purpose of the LEC is to support students and their study skills. Overseeing the operations of the LEC is Dr. Teresa Shaffer. She will be meeting with students throughout the school year to help them with their academic process and study skills.
“Our goal is to help each student achieve their maximum academic potential while developing both academic and study skill strategies to serve them throughout their lives,” Shaffer said.
Joanie South-Shelley took over as Librarian in the LRC in June, after starting as the Archivist in January.
The LRC and LEC staffs are excited to see how their new changes play out.