College plans to build truf field by 2004

Williams is in the initial stages of constructing a new all-weather turf field in Upper Cole Field, expected to be completed by Spring 2004. It is being designed to benefit both the College and Williamstown residents, and is expected to be a great boon to the athletic program at Williams.

The need for an all-weather field has been discussed among the College administration for several years. Due to long New England winters, the amount of time that spring athletes can spend practicing and playing is restricted when compared to schools located in more temperate climes.

As a result, many schools, including Bates, Hamilton and Trinity have constructed artificial all-weather fields. The increased outdoor practice time the new field will provide will be advantageous to College teams when they compete against schools with all-weather facilities.

The new field will also solve scheduling problems that often arise when many spring sports teams wish to use the field house early in the semester. Teams are forced to practice at late hours, and the facilities are not available during these times. The move to an outdoor facility will allow more recreational use of the Field House.

The plan was not slated for execution until very recently, when a number of friends and former players of the men’s lacrosse coach, Renzie Lamb, organized the funds necessary for its completion. These gifts amounted to more than $2 million. They were collected in a grassroots effort by friends of Lamb, including Matty Lavine ’74 and Jimmy Lee ’75.

The field is to be named the Renzie W. Lamb Field in honor of Lamb, who announced his retirement earlier this spring.

Due to the gifts for field construction by members of the Williams community, “The College was able to begin the project significantly sooner than anticipated [by the Committe on Priorities and Resources],” said Jim Kolesar, director of public affairs.

Some were concerned with issues of runoff and drainage that the new field would cause, fearing ecological harm to the area around it. However, regulations require that all runoff be captured and then released into the watershed at a rate less than or equal to that which it would have been had the surface not been altered.

This is being taken into account during the design planning. Typically, a type of catch basin is constructed to catch the runoff and flow into the ground is regulated. In addition, the field is expected to be semi-permeable, allowing some water to seep directly through it to the ground.

Many are eagerly looking forward to the new field. In a letter to the student body, President Schapiro described the field as “an important new facility” and a “wonderful gift to the College.” Lamb was said to be deeply honored by the building of the field.

The field is being designed for use by varsity sports, including field hockey, lacrosse and soccer, as well as by intramural and recreational sports. In addition, it will be open to the Williamstown community.

The physical dimensions and infrastructure of the turf field have yet to be determined. According to Harry Sheehy, director of athletics, the College is presently working with several firms to iron out the specifics in order to best serve the teams that will use the field. A timetable for the construction of the field has not been released.

The field will be built towards the left of the Field House on Upper Cole Field (Poker Flats). This site was chosen instead of Lower Cole Field since the latter is prone to flooding in the spring. The College is hoping that the field will be used through the winter.

The field will not impede the view of Mission and Poker Flat residents. It will be only one to two inches off the ground, but will be surrounded by bleachers and lights. According to Sheehy, though, the lights from the field should not pose a disturbance to Mission or Poker residents.

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