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TF South track and field overhaul nears completion ahead of home football opener

LANSING, Ill. (August 14, 2023) – Remember that long dry spell earlier this year?

A repeat might not be good for local gardens but it would be welcomed by Tim Stephan and the TF South football program.

Stephan, the District 215 director of facilities, is overseeing the $4.8 million overhaul of TF South’s football stadium and track.

Planning around the project

The project began this spring and has continued through the summer with the goal of allowing the Red Wolves to play at least a few home football games this fall.

Athletic director Marc Brewe reworked the South schedule so that the first four games — and six of nine in the regular season — are on the road.

As of now, the Red Wolves’ home opener will be September 21 vs. South Suburban Blue rival Bremen. The other two scheduled home games are also conference matchups: October 6 vs. Hillcrest and October 13 vs. Oak Forest.

“Right now, the only thing (possibly) holding us back is the weather,” Stephan told the Lansing Journal last week. “The contractor believes we will be able to have a football field by Week 5. Ultimately, our goal is to play that game (at home).”

Field, lights, track

The project includes replacing the grass playing surface with field turf, upgrading the field lights to LED versions and expanding the track from six to eight lanes.

The light poles, which dated from 1987, have already been replaced, Stephan said. Fans will notice the new lighting as soon as they walk in the stadium, he added.

“The LED light is going to be a game-changer,” he said.

Among other things, if the lights are turned off for a special presentation, they can be turned right back on to full strength with no lengthy warm-up period.

The track-and-field upgrades won’t be limited to the track itself. The horizontal- and high-jump areas will be refreshed, and a pole-vault area is returning to allow that to be added back to the Red Wolves’ event mix.

“Our track coaches are ecstatic about that,” Stephan said.

Once done, the stadium upgrades will make Friday Night Lights, aka TF South football — a staple in Lansing for decades — even more of an event.

“It’s going to be great for the community,” Stephan said.

Inside updates

There are other athletic upgrades going on inside TF South as well.

The old gym is getting its heating plant — which dates back to when the building opened in 1957 — replaced. And that area will be air-conditioned for the first time, which will end the days of it being a sweatbox at the beginning and end of each school year. The gym lighting also will be upgraded to LEDs.

The project is part of an ongoing effort to keep District 215’s facilities up to date.

“For the last 15 years, we have been sinking a lot of money into the buildings,” Stephan said.

Mike Clark
Mike Clark
Mike Clark is a veteran journalist who has been covering sports in the Chicago area and beyond, from preps to pros, for more than four decades.


  1. Without any more additional information, on the surface I would guess that the changes to a heating plant that age are pretty much a necessity. The track, field, and lights (that come on without a delay), seem more like a nice to have, rather than a need to have. $4.8 million dollars is a lot of money. Mr. Stephan maybe correct that these changes will be great for the community, and while it’s a done deal now, I’m just curious (as are many others in the community that I’ve spoken to) how these changes will be paid for?

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