The Banta Bowl Renovation (2015)
If it takes a village to raise a child, then it really does take a community of alumni, parents, friends, and local organizations to come together and invest in an award-winning stadium renovation. We are deeply grateful for the support and investment of so many members of the Lawrence family that brought the beautiful Banta Bowl renovation to life in 2015.
The 3,634-seat Banta Bowl, tucked into a natural ravine just south of the Fox River, underwent a major renovation during the spring and summer of 2015. The stadium, home to Lawrence Football since 1965, now also houses the Lawrence Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams. The overall renovation received an award from the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA) in 2016 with honors coming in the Distinguished Field Facilities category.
Renovations began with raising and widening the playing field to accommodate a soccer pitch. The natural grass surface was replaced with FieldTurf to allow for more and varied use of the stadium. The fan experience was greatly improved with aluminum grandstand seating and an LED scoreboard that houses a new sound system.
Fans enter the Banta Bowl through an inviting plaza at the north end of the stadium. The new Gilboy Athletic Center houses Lawrence’s football locker room, an athletic training room, an officials’ room, concessions, ticketing and restrooms. The building was named for Steve ’62 and Joan Gilboy, who provided a leadership gift for the stadium renovation.
The naming of Ron Roberts Field at the Banta Bowl honors Lawrence’s legendary football coach and long-time director of athletics, Ron Roberts, at the behest of Tom Rogers ’65, who gave the lead gift for the renovation.
The final piece of the renovation is set to be completed in 2018. The original press box will be replaced with a brand new facility for game control personnel, the media, and coaching staff. It is expected to be ready for games in the fall of 2018.
“This was an incredibly collaborative endeavor that bore a result of which all involved can be very proud. Thanks to the leadership of Lawrence for this project from the Board of Trustees, President Mark Burstein and Vice President for Alumni and Development Cal Husmann,” Director of Athletics Christyn Abaray stated. “In addition, thank you to Mike Szkodzinski, director of athletics/head hockey coach at the time of planning and construction, and Rettler Corporation for their significant contribution to the renovation. Finally, thank you to Lynn Hagee ‘58, instrumental in the aesthetic appeal of the Banta Bowl, for her assistance.”
Baseball & Softball Windscreens (2017)
With the investments of Vikings parents, we were able to provide a much-needed facelift to the Whiting Field baseball and softball diamonds. The brand new windscreens, which adorn our baseball and softball outfield fences, represent the first of its kind for baseball and a refresh for softball, and the improvements dramatically increase the aesthetics of both home venues.
Lawrence Hockey European Tour (2014)
The Vikings Hockey team traveled to Germany, Austria, and Italy for nine days to compete against three professional European teams and experience an educational, team-building trip, thanks to the investments and support of alumni, parents and friends.
Renovated Lawrence Outdoor Tennis Courts (2014)
The Lawrence Courts, located at the bottom of Drew St. hill, underwent a makeover during the summer of 2014 thanks to the generous investment of an anonymous donor. “The new tennis facility allows Lawrence to provide its men’s and women’s tennis teams with a first-class facility to compete and train,” Lawrence coach Steve Francour said. “Potential student-athletes will also see that they can reach their full potential at Lawrence with an outstanding facility. I would like to thank the donor and Lawrence for making this facility one of the best in the Midwest Conference.”
Lawrence Volleyball Sport Court (2012)
An alumni couple — Nancy Fay ’78 and Kendrith Rowland Jr. ’76— and parents of Lawrence volleyball alumna Kathleen Van Zeeland ’14 approached Head Volleyball Coach Matt Schoultz after their daughter’s freshman year with an offer to donate funds to provide a new sport court for his team. “For Nancy and me, providing a dedicated volleyball surface at Alexander Gym was a great opportunity and an easy decision,” said Ken. “Our time at Lawrence was a magical one, which we more fully appreciate as we age. Giving back is a great feeling.”