Construction to convert the intramural fields behind and across from the Recreation Center from grass to turf has officially begun.
The construction is part of an effort to modernize the field. The construction will cost around $2.7 million to complete, according to Senior Vice President for Facilities Planning & Operations, Donald Moore.
The project is expected to be completed by the fall semester so that students can utilize the field’s new resources in time for the fall intramural sports season.
As previously reported by The Whit in the fall semester of 2014, the project was only expected to cost around $1.6 million. That November, the Student Government Association passed a referendum which would cause student fees to increase by about $10 for the next seven years to pay for the construction of the new turf.
This created a great amount of controversy throughout the student body, causing university officials to get involved and evaluate whether or not the funds could be provided through another avenue.
Rowan University Senior Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer Joseph Scully indicated that it was decided in February 2015 by the Board of Trustees in Resolution #18, that the money for the construction of the new fields would actually be drawn from the general university funds. The board pledged to provide $2.5 million.
“Both our president and the Board of Trustees were not keen on students paying for it. Through the resolution, student funds are not affected. They won’t be responsible for paying for the fields in any way,” Scully said. “The money will come from university funds and we may draw some [money] from [Rowan University’s] reserve funds.”
Moore indicated that the sudden increase in costs was due to the inclusion of an update to an additional soccer field and the purchase of new lighting equipment and fencing, which were not figured into the original costs of construction.
“The construction market pricing is great and so our purchasing has gone to our satisfaction,” Moore said.
The new turf is expected to last for a number of years.
“Walking down that way, you’ll already be able to see workers blocking things off,” Moore said. “They’re beginning to gather basic measurements before beginning to put the turf on the fields.”
The intramural sports that normally utilize the field space have moved their practices to the fields on West Campus until the construction is completed.
The primary reason for construction on the fields was a high student demand for turf in place of grass.
“We’re looking to listen to student requests,” Moore said. “There were requests for a better quality of intramural fields, as these students want to practice on a modern [field].”
Associate Vice President and Director of Campus Recreation Tina Pinocci explained that the new turf fields will have a variety of uses.
“The priority will be intramural and club sports,” Pinocci said. “However, we will also have a schedule with hours for recreational/open use and will have special events on the fields.”
The university hopes to have responded to student wishes for the fields positively, feeling that their investment in the turf is wise and beneficial to students in their athletic endeavors.
“We believe these fields are a worthy investment. We hope that students are appreciative of that,” Moore said.