Last Modified: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 10:57 AM
If you want to see a St. Louis Catholic home football game this season, don’t go to LaGrange.
The Saints have a new home field — Lake Charles-Boston Academy — since LaGrange informed them this year it would cost more than twice as much per home game as St. Louis had been paying.
St. Louis Athletic Director Jason Oertling said the school paid $600 per home game last year. This season, LaGrange asked for in the neighborhood of $1,500 a game, according to sources.
While Oertling didn’t confirm the exact value, he said it was “considerably more than we were paying already.”
“We were very happy there (at LaGrange),” Oertling said. “We felt like it was a central location, a great stadium and everything. We just didn’t feel like we could afford what they wanted to charge, especially compared to what we had been paying ... and it wasn’t worth trying to re-arrange things.”
St. Louis won’t be compromising its football team at all by switching venues, Oertling said. In fact, the Saints played home games at LC-B as recently as seven years ago, and Oertling said the $300 fee per game was a deal hard to pass up.
“I don’t think it will be a big adjustment for our kids or the football team or our community,” he said. “(LC-B) is obviously even a little bit closer to St. Louis. We wanted to make sure we were able to get our kids everything we’d been giving them to help them be successful, and we didn’t want to spend all that money on just the rental of a field when we had another great field right down the road that wasn’t going to be anywhere near the amount.”
Instead of sharing a football field with LaGrange, St. Louis will partner with Hamilton Christian in using LC-B as a home stadium. Oertling said the schools are already collaborating on renovations to the field for the 2012 season, and they are evenly dividing the maintenance costs.
“The last few years we were able to get the water back on on the field to where we’re able to water the grounds every day,” Oertling said. “Coach (Mike) Johns has also supervised aerating the field and trying to get the Bermuda grass to grow ... and it is. The school board has done a great job of making sure everything is ready to go with the stadium and locker rooms and everything else.”
Having to move to a different site might have conjured up thoughts of building a football stadium on the St. Louis campus, but Oertling said that’s not a project high among the school’s priorities.
“It’s something we’re still thinking about, but not something that’s necessary because we can go right down the road and still be able to have everything we need for our team to be successful and safe and have a great environment for Friday night,” Oertling said. “With St. Louis being so landlocked, parking is always the No. 1 question. There’s just not a lot of room within the block the school is on.”
Calls to LaGrange and LC-B on Monday were not returned.