First opened in the spring of 2000, Peter Kohn Field has provided Middlebury athletes with an all-weather, fully synthetic surface for over 11 years. Used primarily by the women’s field hockey program
and the women’s and men’s lacrosse programs, Kohn Field has been home to thousands of practices and hundreds of games. While the field has provided many benefits to coaches and athletes—expanded playing time, reduced injuries, and multiple winning seasons—the life expectancy of the surface has been reached, and the signs of deterioration are evident.
The restoration of Kohn Field will include a new base with improved drainage topped by a state-of-the-art, synthetic-fiber carpet. This new surface will be more durable than the current carpet and will better withstand Vermont’s harsh weather. Most important, it will provide all the benefits required by today’s elite athletic teams—the perfect balance of traction and foot release, consistent ball roll and bounce, ideal shock absorption, and pristine conditions in any weather. The plan is to break ground in June and complete the project in late August. The total project cost is $1.875 million.
“Kohn field is essential to all of us because of its accessibility in the most adverse, intense, and even wintry weather conditions,” says women’s field hockey coach Katharine DeLorenzo. “It is also the best playing surface in the sport of field hockey. Our set plays and technical skills on the cutting edge of the game require this surface.”
Long winters and short playing seasons are a fact of life for many schools in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC). That’s why preseason training and preparation are so important. The teams that start the regular season with weeks of
field play under their belts are more likely to dominate, improve,
and reach the playoffs.
“It’s crucial for us to have a new synthetic turf field so we’re not falling behind the rest of the league in our preparation,” says men’s lacrosse coach Dave Campbell ’00.
Championship teams don’t stop practicing when the sun goes down. And the cramped quarters of indoor facilities are less than ideal when developing skills for fast-action field sports. That’s why
funding for the Kohn Field Restoration Project includes a full-scale lighting system.
“With our first game in early March, the ability to practice on the lacrosse field is crucial. With the addition of lights on Kohn Field, we can be outside most practice days of preseason, rather than practicing indoors in a space that is just too small,” says women’s lacrosse coach Missy Foote.
Lighting Kohn Field will allow Middlebury teams to practice under true field conditions no matter the time of year or time of day. Additional benefits include safety of the athletes, more flexible scheduling of games and practices, and a much improved experience for spectators. And never again will players find themselves straining to follow the ball in the fading evening light.