The new D117 field house

The D117 Field House has been occupied by a variety of extracurricular activities for Antioch and Lakes high school.

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Meryl Resurreccion

The Antioch and Lakes fine art ensembles practicing at the winter festival dress rehearsal.

The D117 field house has significantly impacted both high schools for their extracurricular activities. The new addition is attached to Lakes Community High School, which contains one jumbotron, several courts for volleyball, basketball and a track around. Though located at Lakes, Antioch has utilized it almost as much for sports activities this last fall season. Senior Veronica Henkel experienced part of her volleyball season with the field house for practices, games and tournaments. During one of her tournaments, a massive screen displayed the tournament bracket. 

“I felt like I was much more aware of the schedule and teams we were playing there because most of the teams stayed in the field house and everything was put on the screen,” Henkel said. 

The field house has a different environment and organization than regular school gyms, which can benefit not only the students playing but the family and friends going to watch as well. The director of extracurricular programs, Kurt Rowells, finalized a schedule for the winter months, in which another group that will utilize the space is the D117 Winter Guard.

“They’ve always kind of been in a situation where they didn’t have a home or a place to go, so to speak, but with the new facility, now they know where they’re going to practice,” Rowells said.

As the winter season is just beginning, every extracurricular activity is planned to have fair and equal access to the field house from both schools. Additionally, as more groups can take over the space, groups can get home sooner from practices.

This will also be put to good use for the fine arts program. The fine arts department chair and director of choirs, Michael Hickey, has worked with Rowells on this. On Dec. 11, ACHS and LCHS will have their first winter festival together in the field house, including the band, orchestra and choir. For many previous years, ACHS performed their winter songs twice in one night, with one concert at 5 p.m, and the other at 7 p.m. 

The field house allows us to have one concert with ample space for audience members,” Hickey said. “The first inspiration was creating an event for our entire D117 community to come to see.”

This is an exciting event for students, families and fine arts teachers that get to bring the community together to listen to holiday music before the break. Hickey also has thoughts on expanding the field house to the visual arts as well.

It would be amazing to have young children come and decorate cookies, ornaments, dreidels, etc. before the concert and then go see an amazing show,” Hickey said.

Looking towards the future, Rowells has other visions for fun activities.

“There’s some pretty strong potential for a Winter Fest opportunity, depending on where we’re at with what’s going on outside of school,” Rowells said.

D117 students should look out for this in February. Moreover, as more opportunities open up, Rowells said that the field house is the crown jewel of Lake County, and in future years, for neighboring communities.