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New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

An overdue renovation of Duke Childs Field enhances the game day experience

Updated turf and clubhouse brings a modern ballpark feel to historical grounds
Newly renovated Duke Childs Field

At this year’s home opener on April 5, New Trier High School varsity baseball came away with a win against the Montini Catholic High School Broncos with a final score of 6-1. However, this game was meaningful to the Trevs for other reasons. After a long offseason, the team has returned to its home base, Duke Childs Field, which recently underwent a major renovation including new turf, dugouts, and locker rooms. Both the players and the coaches realized that the field needed updating, as it had been noticeably run down after 100 years of use. Now that the season is in action, baseball players can truly appreciate the renovations from the past year.

 Three days after the home opener, New Trier celebrated the official grand opening of Duke Childs Field. First pitches thrown by retiring Director of Physical Plant Services, Dave Conway, and Grounds Manager, Jules Laude, were some of the highlights of the evening. Boys’ baseball head coach, Mike Napoleon, especially appreciated the opening day festivities as he entered his retirement season.

The whole complex is what makes it more of a ballpark, instead of a ball field.

— Mike Napoleon

“It was very meaningful. The grand opening was a very nice event. A lot of people were out there,” Napoleon said. The Trevians again left with a victory, this time over Oak Park-River Forest High School with a score of 8-2. 

The timing of the renovation, starting on June 1 and finishing in the fall, avoided any conflicts with the baseball season. When Napoleon first learned about the plans for the renovated field, he was pleasantly surprised that it was more than a new field and that it was an entirely new complex. 

“The renovation of the field is one part, but it was the whole complex that was renovated. New clubhouse, new JV softball field, new bullpens, new fences all around,” Napoleon said. “The whole complex is what makes it more of a ballpark, instead of a ball field.”

From Napoleon’s view, the changes to the field will positively impact his team members’ play and experience during this spring season. New Trier Athletic Director, Augie Fontanetta, has insight on how New Trier worked with the village of Winnetka to ensure community gains from the field renovation.

“One of the most important improvements [brought on by the renovation] is the mitigation of the flooding and drainage of the fields,” Fontanetta said. Additionally, the renovation enhances the fan experience with an expanded parking lot, walkways, and seating.

In the past year, New Trier has undergone major renovations to its athletic facilities, with the grand opening in September of the new East Side gyms, indoor track, weight and cardio rooms, climbing wall, and ropes courses. Fontanetta and the rest of the athletic department have plans for future updates to modernize their facilities, particularly the football field at the Northfield campus. 

“[I] hope that when we replace the stadium turf we can add a modern scoreboard,” Fontanetta added.

With the upcoming retirement of Napoleon after 28 years, this season is a big one for baseball at New Trier. Now that Duke Childs Field has been renovated, the Trevians are ready for another 100 years of play.

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