Dickinson's new turf
30 July 2018
The grass is getting greener – or bluer – at Dickinson Stadium.
When St. Joseph’s football and boys soccer teams takes the field for their first home games this season, they will do so on brand new synthetic turf.
A blue and maize “SJ” is painted on the center of the field, standing out with fresh, bright white yardage lines. And blue end zones with the word “Bears” written on them cap off the field.
“It’s very exciting,” St. Joseph Athletic Director Kevin Guzzo said. “The crew installing it is doing a great job, it’s looking really sharp.”
Lakeshore’s football, baseball and softball facilities all have turf, with a turf soccer field on its way.
Michigan Lutheran plays eight-man football on the Lakeshore Rocket football field, and New Buffalo has its own complex.
With a donation from Steve and Elizabeth Upton, the school district was able to fund the project.
Dickinson Stadium has undergone several changes over the years.
The school purchased a 40-acre parcel known as Dickinson Estates in the mid-1940s. By 1950 the first official football game was played at the newly built stadium, and games continued to be played until Oct. 2001.
The current stadium began construction after the conclusion of the 2001 season, finishing just ahead of the 2003 football season.
In 2008 the field was reseeded, and had the top soil removed for another reseeding at the end of 2016 season.
The stadium itself will retain its name, but the field will now be known as the Steve Upton Family Field.
“We are very appreciative of (the Upton’s donation),” St. Joseph football coach Gandalf Church said. “(The field) will get a lot of use, we don’t have to be so stingy with Dickinson. (And) hopefully it will allow us to educate the community through the game of football.”
The boys and girls soccer teams will also enjoy the new turf. Previously, games were held at Upton Middle School.
“It looks like just about all of our home games are going to be at Dickinson Stadium,” Guzzo said. “We had a great soccer complex (at Upton), but I think having soccer at our high school campus will do a lot.
“It seems more and more people from the community are sneaking out to see it. I think it will draw students already doing things at the school to the games. And, it is a chance to play on a first-class field.”
School officials declined to say how much the project cost.
Similar projects have carried price tags ranging from $600,000 to over $1 million. When Lakeshore laid turf at Al Stockman 10 years ago, it spent $789,505. Two families donated $300,000 each and the rest of the funds were raised.
A new field and stadium at Portage Northern High School reached just over $3 million, and School Field, which hosts games for South Bend Adams and South Bend Washington schools, spent $867,364.
New Buffalo’s combined football-track-soccer complex was $1.2 million in 2014.