Newton property will be home to second lighted turf field

Starting in spring 2022, Colorado Academy students who play on Field Hockey, Lacrosse, and Soccer teams enjoyed well-lit evening practices and games on Slater Turf Field, thanks to a new lighting system that surrounds the field.  

Now, they will have double the opportunity for training and competition after sunset with the construction of a second turf field, also with night lights, scheduled to be completed by fall of 2022.  

A rendering of the two lighted turf fields when complete, with Slater Field on the east and Newton Field on the west

The land on which the new field will be built was originally part of the Newton family farm. Frances Newton, matriarch of the family, was on the CA Board of Trustees and worked closely with former Head of School Chuck Froelicher in the 1950s and ’60s, as CA transitioned from a military school to a boarding and day school, and finally to an excellent coed independent school.  

During the 2004-2005 school year, CA purchased 18.5 acres of the Newton farm, including the original Newton home, which will not be affected by the construction of the new field. Slater Turf Field, the first project to be developed on the land, was dedicated in spring of 2006, but CA continued to keep a strategic eye on finding the right opportunity to develop the remaining land. Now that time has come with the Newton Turf Field.  

“This is really a game-changer for the school,” says Director of Athletics Bill Hall.  “I am so grateful to everyone who has made this possible because it shows that CA believes that athletics are important to the education of the whole child.”  

What makes lights and new field a ‘game-changer’ 

Hall is not indulging in hyperbole when he uses the word “game-changer.” It was not uncommon for a game on Slater Field to end prematurely because the sun had set, and there simply wasn’t enough light to finish. Now games can be completed, and even scheduled to be played, after sunset.  

The lighted fields will enhance the athletic experience of many students at CA. There are 79 Upper School girls playing on four Field Hockey teams, plus additional Middle School girls taking up the sport. There are 70 boys and nearly 40 girls playing on Lacrosse teams. 

Newton Field will lie parallel to Slater Field but will be positioned slightly to the north. It will be accessible from South Teller Street, and there will be parking adjacent to the field. The field will be comparable to the top college turf fields in the country, making it particularly attractive to students interested in playing on a Field Hockey team at CA and in college.  

The new turf field will also benefit the greater Lakewood/Denver community, since it will be available for club teams, college teams, and professional teams to use year-round, generating revenue for CA’s operating budget. It may even bring young club players to the CA campus, who will eventually decide that they want to apply to CA.   

But for Hall, the most important aspect of having two fields with lights is the support they will provide for CA athletes.  

“Students learn so many skills playing sports—real world skills,” he says. “They learn how to set goals, work hard, not give up when things turn against them, and how to be a good teammate and a good human. These are lessons that prepare students for college and life.” 


What makes the new field special 

You might think that Director of Operations Jesse Schumacher would want to take a moment to breathe after finishing supervision of the construction of the Leach Center for the Performing Arts. Instead, he says he is “super excited” to take on another new project—for one interesting reason.  

“Many of the projects we have done in recent years—the Upper School, the Ponzio Arts Center, the Welborn House, the Athletic Center, and the Leach Center—were a matter of taking an existing building and renovating it or scraping it. This new turf field is a project that starts with undeveloped land and makes it useful with a great new addition to the campus.”  

Schumacher has already supervised the installation of four 70-foot poles, which support environmentally friendly LED lights, along the sidelines of Slater Field. The new lights create zero light pollution. The height of the pole actually limits the “spill” of the lights, focusing it downward, so it does not shine in the eyes of drivers on Pierce Street. 

“When we talked with vendors, we kept in mind what kind of players would be using the field with these lights,” says Schumacher. “We made decisions about what kind of lights to use, so that the highest level of athletes playing fast-moving ball sports will be comfortable playing on the field.”  

Newton Field will be slightly elevated above Slater Field, producing a terraced effect. It will be lit with the same state-of-the-art lights. Turf field technology has changed since Slater Field was built, and the foundation of Newton Field will be sand with minimal rubber, making it an even more natural and responsive playing surface.   

Hall and Schumacher agree: “It is a first-class field.”  

The veteran trees that border both fields—the ones that Schumacher calls “the most beautiful on campus”—will not be touched during construction.  

“We were determined to keep those cottonwoods,” says Hall. “There is good spirit in those trees.”  

The good spirit of CA donors, starting with a generous lead gift and supplemented by gifts from additional donors, has made Newton Turf Field possible. If you are interested in adding your support to Newton Field, you can make a gift online or contact Advancement Officer Gravely Wilson.