Chicago Hope, Chicago Lions rehab field
August 6, 2010

Chicago Hope Academy, a nondenominational Christian independent high school, and the Chicago Lions, a rugby team, have spent the summer reconstructing the Lions for Hope Field, 2431 W. Roosevelt Rd. Chicago Hope and the Chicago Lions will use the field, or “pitch,” as rugby fields are called, as their home for rugby and other sports throughout the year.

Dustin Hugen, former Lions captain and a groundskeeper by trade, has served as the project’s lead architect.

“Having access to a field like this in the city of Chicago is a luxury that no other club or school” has, Hugen said. Crews have worked “tirelessly” on upgrading the field to protect “this amazing opportunity… by taking care of what we have” and to “extend the Hope Academy and Lions partnership’s reach by creating a pitch that will be the premier place to play rugby in the Midwest. Visitors will be blown away by what we’ve accomplished with this field when play resumes in the fall.”

Volunteers from both organizations have provided all labor, with Chicago Hope Academy funding most of the renovation’s other costs. The work involved has been considerable: when a crew discovered a 20 x 20-foot concrete slab beneath the old field’s foundation, they had to break it up and remove it before they could spread nearly 30 tons of new dirt throughout the site and install more than 70,000 square feet of sod.

After work concludes at the end of this month, the new field will sport an innovative irrigation system using technologically savvy survey equipment that will make upkeep easier and ensure the site retains its beauty for years to come. Besides hosting Chicago Hope Academy Eagles rugby and soccer clubs and Chicago Lions games, the field will see play by teams from the Chicago Youth Lacrosse Association.

The Chicago Lions Rugby Football Club is the only Midwest rugby club that fields playing sides in rugby super league competition, division, and 7s play as well as an active alumni team for players older than 35. For information, log on to www.ChicagoLions.com or contact the club’s president, Keith Brown, at (312) 952-1028.

Chicago Hope Academy opened in 2005 in the nearby Tri-Taylor neighborhood. The college prep high school serves about 200 students in grades 9 through 12 and maintains a commitment to athletics. For further information, visit www.ChicagoHopeAcademy.com or contact the school at (312) 491-1600.

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