CPR approves lighted turf field, awaits board of trustees approval

Although financial times threatened to curtail support among College decision-makers, the Committee on Priority and Resources (CPR) announced on March 10 that they had approved athletic director Harry Sheehy’s proposal for the construction of a lighted turf field.

The plan has subsequently been given the green light by senior staff.

“It was definitely a controversial issue,” said CPR member Colin Adams, professor of mathematics.

“People are very concerned that in taking on a new project it would cut into the existing projects that the College has already committed itself to, and given the economic climate that is a matter of real concern.”

In Adams’ opinion, any trepidation among members of CPR regarding approval of the project was less the result of doubts surrounding the validity or necessity of the project, and more a matter of people wanting to feel confident that turf field construction would not hinder any of the other myriad projects the College currently has on its plate.

“People really wanted to feel as if this project would not negatively impact the other projects we’ve already decided to go forward with,” he said.

Final approval of the project will only be secured in early April when the Board of Trustees gives the final word. However, projects that are approved by CPR and senior staff in almost all cases gain approval from the Board.

Helen Oullette, Vice President and Treasurer of the College, indicated that planning for the project was “still in the early phases,” with many particulars yet to be resolved. What is known for certain is that the project is expected to cost somewhere between $1.5-2 million – most likely toward the more expensive end of that range.

While the price tag on the project may pale in comparison to the $36 million that the College has devoted to the construction of a new student center to replace Baxter Hall, Adams was quick to mention that the financial state of the country and by extension of the College itself were taken into account.

In spite of any economic uncertainty, however, CPR ultimately was convinced that the project was the most practical, affordable and necessary development for which the athletics department was likely to gain sanction from the College.

“I would say that people felt strongly that this is something that is really good for the students,” Adams said.

“That it’s something that would be supporting both athletics and intramurals on this campus, which is something that is really necessary, and given that we will not be able to tackle some more major athletics facilities issues at the moment, this [turf field] will help alleviate the pressures on the field house and other facilities that we’ve been feeling through now.”

Current projections have the field fully operational by the end of 2004, with construction proceeding at a relatively brisk pace.

Indeed, Adams intimatedthat groundwas slated to be broken only in the fall of 2004, but the project could be completed by the end of the year.

Perhaps the most important decision yet to be settled is the final site for the lighted turf field.

Sheehy told the Record in early January that he intended to hire an outside consultant who would help determine the best location for the field.

In the same interview, Sheehy said that the most likely areas would be Upper or Lower Cole Field or the field behind the Torrence Hunt Tennis Center.

Sheehy was not available for comment. It has yet to be determined what type of field the school plans to purchase- Astroturf, Field Turf and NexTurf. The decision is still pending until the project is approved by the Board of Trustees.

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