A decade ago, it was nothing more than a dream. Now, the 24 acres on the Clyde Fant Parkway known as the Loyola Athletic Complex is one of the best in the state.
Loyola College Prep has added still another jewel to its Athletic Complex with the addition of synthetic grass to Messmer Stadium beginning in the 2010-11 school year.
Built in 2002, Messmer Stadium is home to football, lacrosse and boys and girls soccer teams. Including freshman / junior varsity games and spirit groups, about half of Loyola's student body uses the Messmer Stadium surface during the school year.
The synthetic grass was made possible by private donations, including a lead gift by Daryl & Marlene Fultz.
But the improvements don't stop there. With the new project, the size of the soccer and lacrosse field will be enlarged to better conform to each sport's standard field width. In addition, new visitor bleachers are being added to the East side of Messmer Stadium.
Messmer Stadium was already in need of having its field reshaped and recrowned in addition to the need of major drainage repair before the 2010-11 school year. Combining the potential cost of that project with the savings derived from maintenance, upkeep and field preparation, "the new surface will address those concerns, and furthermore, allow us to expand the surface to better accommodate not only football, but soccer and lacrosse, as well," said Board President Steve Skrivanos. "As approximately half the Loyola student body uses the field, either through athletic, cheerleading, or dancing pursuits, it is an investment in our children that will reap benefits for years to come."
Messmer Stadium is host to about 60 events per year, including middle school football games. Only a handful of schools in the state have a home stadium with a synthetic grass surface.
The opening game of Messmer Stadium was held on Sept. 20, 2002 and dedication ceremonies were held on Oct. 11, 2002, for the 3,000-seat stadium. Messmer Stadium is dedicated in memory of Harold and Dottie Messmer, parents of five children who attended Loyola College Prep or its predecessor schools. In addition, the Messmers had three sons-in-law, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren attend the school.
The Loyola gymnasium was constructed in 1952 and is the oldest high school gym in the city. In addition to basketball and volleyball games, it has been the scene of Shakespearean plays, school assemblies and Masses. The gym foyer features portraits of Flyers who have been named as All-State as well as a trophy case for athletic championships. Banners recognizing the district and state championships won by the basketball andd volleyball teams also hang in the gym.
Both boys and girls basketball locker rooms have been recently renovated and the two teams share a Basketball Lounge.
In the Spring of 2004, the baseball team began playing at Cicero Field, named in honor of longtime coach and educator Frank Cicero. Cicero led the Flyers to two state championships (1964, 1974) and compiled a record of 270-187-4 in 27 years (1951-77). He led the Flyers to six district championships.
Through the 2009 season season, the Flyers have a record of 50-20 in Cicero Field history and have played host to eight playoffs games.
Also a part of the baseball facility is the Michael Bovenzi Practice Facility, which features three full-length covered batting cages. It is named of Michael Bovenzi, an All-State player on the 1998 state finalist team who passed away in August, 2005.
The Flyer softball team plays at St. Vincent's Field, which opened in 2004 and is named in honor of the contribution to Catholic education that St. Vincent’s Academy played for more than 100 years. The facility added lights during the 2008 season.