Settled into the hill on the east end of the football field is the new, expensive, and extravagant Hawklet Center. In its place before was the Al Davis Jr. Fieldhouse, which served as the football locker room for 53 years. During that time, the Hawklets raised all nine of their football state championship banners. The new structure was built to match this great history, and go even beyond.
At first glance, the Hawklet Center sits boldly on the edge of the field, with a concrete and glass exterior that is both elegant and daunting. Although impressive to look at, the true marvel lies within its walls. Functionality was key in its design, and every room has a purpose. The Hawklet Center’s lower level is equipped with new spacious locker rooms, a cutting edge trainers room, and even small conference rooms for individual player review. On the upper level is “Heritage Hall”, a space for alumni fundraising that boasts glass walls with an incredible view of the main field. Along with details such as the school crest inlaid in the glass and subtle blue highlights on the exterior, the building maintains a uniqueness that fits a clear Rockhurst theme.
Mr. Michael Dierks, Athletic Director and primary overseer of the project, believes that this building was very necessary in order to have a competitive advantage in our athletics. First, the new building is much safer than the 1960’s fieldhouse. The old building was small and cramped and was a fire safety risk. Coach Dierks emphasized that “better airflow and more space also allow for players to have a lower risk of catching infections from moldy and damp locker rooms.” It also helps the player recovery process by supplying twice as much ice and maintaining a spacious and well-equipped trainers room. Space is another main benefactor of the new building. It has the versatility of holding five different sports teams throughout the school year, broadening past the old fieldhouse which only held football. It can also hold large alumni events that help raise important dollars for the school. These dollars are especially important considering the hefty price tag of the building itself. Coach Dierks believes that it was expensive to build because it was built to last. “This is solid. This isn’t going to go anywhere,” he says, “We want this one to last fifty years, just as the last one had.”
This investment has been an overall success, and the players seem to be very happy with the final results. They show the same kind of eagerness as the faculty and staff show. Many players have been proud of the new fieldhouse, and they have posted it all over their social media accounts. Players are excited to use the new and improved space that offers great benefits to them. Varsity football player Joe Coit said, “I think the whole project was very successful and is a huge improvement. It is a great facility and will be used by all athletes and coaches.”
Although it has many advantages, it still has its downfalls. Its location squarely on the hill means that Rockhurst students can no longer do a traditional walk down to the field. This staple of pregame intimidation will be greatly missed, however it opens up new opportunities for creativity. “I will miss the Braveheart walk down,” said Junior Andrew Valdivia, “but I think we will have the unique opportunity to start a new pregame tradition, especially after a few games to help us understand the new layout.” The staff and students alike believe in this new tool for bettering our athletic program, but only time will tell if the investment pays off.