by: Riley Howard – September 12, 2016
Hundreds of students, faculty, and members of the Billings community gathered last month for an open house celebrating the recent renovation of Herb Klindt Field. The event featured free food and T-shirts provided by the athletics department and brought a turnout of over 400 students. Athletic Director Bruce Parker said he was pleased with the enthusiasm. “I’m starting my third year and it’s the most students that I’ve seen at an event like this,” Parker said.
The $2.3 million renovation includes not only a turf eld, but also eld lights and a new sound system. The project was completely funded by donors. In regards to the quality of the field Parker said, “We got the best lights in the business with Musco, and the best turf in the world with Field Turf. Most of the NFL teams that have turf, have Field Turf. We went out and got the best, in hopes that it ends up lasting a long time. It’s shown a commitment from us, from Dr. Wilmouth all the way down to our student athletes that we do want to have the best facilities, that we want to have things right for you [the] student athletes.”
This commitment certainly has not gone unnoticed. The change has brought an air of excitement to campus, especially to the athletes playing on the eld. Senior defensive lineman and captain, Seth Swandal believes the eld brings new energy to the program. “It makes practice go well, too. It enables us to practice later if we need to, and to practice in weather. It’s just all around a good deal.”
The Rocky football team will play its first game on the turf against cross-state rival Carroll College on Sept. 10 at 1 p.m. Senior defensive lineman Brendan Johnson said, “It’s got everybody super excited. It’s going to be really cool for the first game against Carroll. With a new field, new coaches, new everything, we’re excited.”
In addition to being the home field of the Rocky and Central High School football teams, both the men and women’s soccer teams will play on the turf. The soccer teams played on the turf Aug. 27 against the University of Mary. The men won 4-0, while the women lost 0-4. Senior Alex Harvey feels that the renovations have brought in new fans to the games.
“It’s exciting for me my senior year, it’s fun to try something different. I think we’re all kind of excited to play on a new field, and under the lights especially,” Harvey said.
The soccer teams will have several night games on the turf throughout the season, but will continue to play games scheduled during daylight hours at Wendy’s field.
In addition to athletic events, the eld will be available to all students for activities like ultimate frisbee and outdoor recreation. A plan for bringing in popular concerts with the new facilities is also in the works. Clearly, the changes made have created a buzz on campus. Swandal summed it up best when he said, “The turf out there, it gives us something to rally around this year.”
Many members of the Rocky Campus and Billings Community would have to agree.