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updated: 9/13/2017 9:30 PM

Timothy Christian's dream come true

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  • The new Ward Athletic Center at Timothy Christian.

    The new Ward Athletic Center at Timothy Christian.
    Photo courtesy of Timothy Christian

  • The new Ward Athletic Center at Timothy Christian.

    The new Ward Athletic Center at Timothy Christian.
    Photo courtesy of Timothy Christian

  • Timothy Christian superintendent Matt Davidson stands at midcourt at the new Ward Athletic Center.

    Timothy Christian superintendent Matt Davidson stands at midcourt at the new Ward Athletic Center.
    Photo courtesy of Timothy Christian

  • The new Ward Athletic Center at Timothy Christian.

    The new Ward Athletic Center at Timothy Christian.
    Photo courtesy of Timothy Christian

  • The new Ward Athletic Center at Timothy Christian.

    The new Ward Athletic Center at Timothy Christian.
    Photo courtesy of Timothy Christian

 
 

Timothy Christian pulled off a dream trifecta.

"Ahead of schedule, under budget and fully funded," Timothy Christian superintendent Matt Davidson said when confirming Thursday's grand opening of the Elmhurst school's Project IMPACT junior high facility and high school field house.

"That's three-for-three," Davidson said. "That's pretty uncommon."

In Illinois it's like seeing Bigfoot.

"It just turned out beautifully. We feel very blessed to have such a wonderful facility," said Trojans athletic director Jack LeGrand.

The title is not an acronym but a measure of the 47,600-square-foot project's importance to the 1,100 students attending preschool through 12th grade on South Prospect Avenue off Butterfield Road.

"It impacts every part of our campus," said Davidson, son of the great gentleman and former Aurora Christian basketball coach Don Davidson.

Project IMPACT, which broke ground June 27, 2016, and will open its innovative, high-tech classrooms two weeks ahead of schedule on Sept. 18, provides a new building for its seventh- and eighth-grade students. With that students in both Timothy's elementary and junior high classes will gain a stronger identity, more versatile educational options and simply more room.

A new high school competition gymnasium, the Ward Athletic Center, will seat 1,200 people -- nearly double the current gym's occupancy of 650 -- and contain one 94-foot basketball court plus another college-sized court going sideways. LED lights around the backboards and shot clocks are among new features.

The lobby will offer a 10- by 12-foot flat-screen monitor with 4K resolution; another monitor rests in the Brandsma Family Foundation Room, just one area that offers second-story, skybox-like viewing. New concessions, locker rooms, training and storage areas all are improvements. Like LeGrand said, adding this space also can get practicing athletes home at a decent hour.

"I've had so many people tell me that this is the finest facility that they've walked through," Matt Davidson said of the alumni he's escorted. "It's not uncommon for these people to get choked up as they walk through this building. It's a powerful experience."

In addition to school board President Joel Tameling, Foundation Board President Peter Huizenga and a variety of school and city officials, Thursday's 6 p.m.-8 p.m. ribbon cutting and open house will draw many of the 650-plus donors to Project IMPACT, which came in $250,000 under its $16 million budget.

Executive Construction Inc. of Hillside, V3 Companies of Woodridge, Buikema Law Group of Hinsdale and AMDG Architects of Grand Rapids, Michigan, executed the project.

Though the hard opening will be a Dec. 1 girls-boys basketball doubleheader against Chicago Christian -- the Jesse White Tumblers and renowned anthem singer Jim Cornelison are scheduled -- already Timothy Christian has been tabbed to host a Class 3A girls volleyball sectional.

"It's the first time I've been involved in something that's this big of a development," LeGrand said. "It's been very enlightening and it's been such a wonderful experience. Now I feel like we're at the end of the journey and it's time for dessert."

Prestigious appointment

At the monthly Illinois High School Association Board meeting on Monday, Hinsdale Central gained approval to host the inaugural IHSA boys and girls lacrosse state finals, May 31-June 2, 2018. Dickinson Field will host the lacrosse finals at least through 2020.

"The thing that's probably the most exciting is it's going to be the very first IHSA state tournament for lacrosse and we get to host it, so I think we get to set the precedent as to how this tourney is going to be run and hosted," said Hinsdale Central athletic director Dan Jones.

In the IHSA release, executive director Craig Anderson said factors included Hinsdale Central's central location to schools playing lacrosse -- 72 boys teams and 58 girls teams are sanctioned, Jones said -- its "top-notch facilities" and the experience of Jones and his staff in hosting IHSA events.

Whether at Hinsdale Central or in his prior employment at DeKalb, Jones has worked finals for baseball, wrestling, boys and girls basketball, and volleyball. He was on the committee that brought the football championships to Northern Illinois University on an alternating basis, has hosted 13 basketball supersectionals, and has hosted the boys gymnastics finals the last four years.

"Now that we've been given the torch, so to speak, we're going to start with meetings and planning in regard to this state meet in May," Jones said. "We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we're excited about it."

Coats for a cause

The exact number of jackets and coats that filled two Pepsi delivery trucks was hard to figure on the spot.

"It was a lot," said Metea Valley junior midfielder Matt Berry, right on the money.

To raise awareness of World Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday, Metea was among 64 Chicago-area high school boys soccer teams each assigned to collect 50 jackets and bring them the day before to the McDonald's Soccer Complex in Oak Brook. The haul of more than 3,000 jackets will be part of a surprise delivery to a Chicago homeless center.

Teams from Addison Trail, Fenton, Hinsdale South, Lake Park, Timothy Christian, West Chicago, Wheaton Academy, Wheaton North and Wheaton Warrenville South joined the effort. It was part of the ongoing "Making a Difference On and Off the Field" campaign presented by Buddy's Helpers and the PepsiCo Showdown, the country's largest high school soccer tournament.

Starting last winter girls soccer programs hit the "Making a Difference" campaign hard with a slew of charitable efforts, and both WW South coach Guy Callipari and Glenbard East goalkeeper Faith Davies were acknowledged for their leadership.

Now it's the boys' turn.

"We compete against each other on the field but off the field we can all donate to a better cause than all of us just playing against each other," Berry said Tuesday, on the bus back from Metea's 1-0 PepsiCo Showdown loss at Lane Tech. Berry said Mustangs coach Josh Robinson sent emails to get the ball rolling and his players responded.

"I think a lot of us on the team realize that coats are a thing that we do take for granted, and it is cool to donate to homeless people, especially with winter coming up soon. I think it was an awesome thing to do."

doberhelman@dailyherald.com

Follow Dave on Twitter @doberhelman1

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