Three of Lakeville South High School’s five practice football fields sustained significant damage last weekend after vandals drove a vehicle or vehicles over the fields swerving and spinning donuts that created ruts in the groomed turf.
The damage occurred sometime between when the last game concluded on one of the fields at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25, and 6:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 26, when the damage was discovered by school groundskeepers.
Lakeville Area School District spokeswoman Linda Swanson said Lakeville police have opened an investigation into the matter, and the district will seek damages from those responsible.
“It really makes me sick,” Swanson said. “It makes me really sad because it was so intentional. It makes me sad for the whole community and especially for the football program.”
Larry Thompson, Lakeville South head football coach, called the situation “frustrating.”
“I’ve never seen anyone come and damage a field like that,” he said.
Lakeville South Activities Director Neil Strader said teams with players in grades seventh grade through varsity level use the fields, and officials are scrambling to relocate team practices and games on the two remaining fields.
“I’m beyond frustrated because our grounds crew has worked really hard to get these fields to where they were on Sunday,” Strader said. “The fields were in the best shape since we opened the building in 2005.”
He said the damage has rendered the fields unsafe for games, but they can conduct controlled practices on them not using the full length of the field. He predicted they will not be ready for games again until next spring.
Strader said they have to remove sod, fill in ruts and determine if they will seed or sod.
He said they are considering opening a practice field that is rarely used because it is so far from the school building.
Tracks on the field indicate the vandals drove a small truck or all-terrain vehicle.
Strader said he hopes whoever did the damage is caught and will help restore the fields.
“I feel very violated,” Strader said. “I’ve never had my home broken into, but this is our home here. So much is invested in what we do here, it rips your stomach out.”
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to contact Officer Thor Howe at 952-232-3336 or Strader at 952-232-3321.