The ducks have been shooed elsewhere.
Now St. Francis is hopeful for some human-friendly progress at the site of its waterlogged football stadium.
The school should hear in the next month or so about the status of permits it is seeking for a new athletic stadium, likely to include a turf field. The school has played football games at College of DuPage for the past few seasons and had to schedule many other games and practices off campus for sports such as soccer and lacrosse because of drainage problems at the school’s existing grass field.
“It is getting better,” St. Francis athletic director Dan Hardwick said. “We did put some work into it. This last spring we top-dressed it and seeded it, and it has been, I want to say, clearly the best shape since I’ve been here, but I’ve only been here a little more than a year.
“ ... We used to have ducks swimming around the goal posts out there. I mean, it was bad, and it would be all way out to our tennis courts. That hasn’t happened since they’ve done the work, so I think we’re on the right track for at least addressing the flood plain issues.”
The school’s ambitions for an upgraded stadium are tied to a permitting process with the city of Wheaton and DuPage County that is expected to be resolved by early January in addition to a separate, fundraising campaign through the school’s development office.
Best case scenario, “if all the stars align,” as Hardwick says, the project comes to fruition in time for next fall. But Hardwick added that even putting the project together in time for the following, 2014-15 school year would be “fabulous.”
“It would be wonderful for our community, without a doubt,” Hardwick said. “That being said, COD has been fantastic. They have been so accommodating working with us. Every time we go over there, it’s like a little event. It has really been wonderful working with those folks, but having games back on our campus would be a wonderful thing for our community.”
In addition to playing football games at COD, the school has scheduled many soccer matches at Benedictine University, and practices for soccer and lacrosse have often been shifted to a variety of parks in the area.
Hardwick said the school tries to play some games on campus but has occasionally had to change games at the last minute if field conditions fail to cooperate.
Pat Rosmonowski, St. Francis’ sophomore football coach and the point person of the school’s team working on the permitting, said the permit process is relatively routine and similar to the one the school had to complete when it recently added a new library and science wing.
College commitments: St. Francis girls volleyball senior outside hitter Michelle McLaughlin has signed a letter of intent to compete at Division I Tennessee-Martin, the school announced this week.
McLaughlin, a starter for the 3A state champion Spartans, finished her St. Francis career with 162 kills and 143 service points.
Another area volleyball senior, Burlington Central libero/defensive specialist Karrington Bell, has committed to NAIA-Clarke University. Bell plays her club volleyball with Club Fusion.
• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.