When most of the students left campus at the end of last year, the sports facility commonly known as the Knox Bowl was a mess. Piles of dirt and construction equipment inhabited the place where sports fans and bleachers once stood. Now the Bowl has been transformed into an updated wonder.
Now renamed the Harley Knosher Bowl, the field is home to an abundance of new features. The old grass turf has been replaced by a softer, synthetic turf with individually crafted blades of grass. The visitor area has been tripled in size, and a wrought iron fence now surrounds the entire field. The sides have been re-graded and sidewalks have been put in place around the bowl to allow easier access to handicapped visitors and an easier climb for everyone.
“We had a lot of older family members and alumni fans who were handicapped and were unable to watch the games,” said Chad Eisele, the Knox Atheltic Director. “And that just didn’t seem right.”
Perhaps the most obvious change to the beloved Knox sports field is the north side. Completely leveled, you can now see inside the bowl as you drive or walk past, without having to climb over a hill.
“With the change to the shape of the Bowl,” said Eisele, “you get that stadium feel while still feeling like you’re in the Bowl. Security also asked us about it at one point, because now they can drive past and see into the bowl at night, where in the past they couldn’t.” When asked, Director of Campus Safety John Schlaf could not recall any particular favor being asked by security and added that the Bowl now follows an aesthetically pleasing view that many colleges have chosen to adopt.
Breaking into the Bowl has long been a tradition for prospective and current students, particularly in winter when students would go “traying” down the snowy sides of the bowl on lunch trays.
“As an alumni myself, I can’t say I never went traying,” said Eisele, “But, now that the cafeteria doesn’t have trays and we’ve got a wrought iron fence, I’m not really sure what’s going to happen to that tradition.”
Part of a number of sports facilities renovations in the past few years, the Bowl was paid for entirely by alumni donations.
“The alumni love their sports and when students are looking at colleges, they aren’t just looking at the teachers and study halls. They’re looking at the sports facilities and workout areas as well, because it’s part of their life, too. These upgrades will hopefully make Knox even more attracted to prospective students than it already is,” said Eisele.
Coming under the projected budget of 1.8 million dollars, Knox is also looking at adding a permanent concession stand and bathrooms onsite in the Bowl.
“It’s worth putting a lot of effort and time into this project,” said Eisele. “Harley Knosher touched a lot of lives in the 32 year he was at Knox, he deserves a legacy that’s going to last a long time.”