Athletic Fields construction continues

By Dave Cesefske

In March 2013 the Oakland University Board of Trustees approved $65 million worth of innovations and projects around campus, $7.8 million of which was set aside for renovations and updates to the main campus’ recreation and upper fields.

OU’s current renovations include the athletic dome construction as well as the upper fields project on Ravine Drive.

The upper fields will include three new turf soccer fields for student recreational use, along with a track that wraps around the field area. There will be one super field and two smaller fields, the track which is for the track and field team will also be available for recreation for students when the team is not using it for practice.

And the good news: next Monday, the recreation fields will be open. According to Greg Jordan, director of campus recreation, the lights will be activated as early as Wednesday, October 1.

Jordan said the intramural football games will start next Wednesday with intramural soccer starting a few weeks later and running until November 13.

“We are so excited to finally have the fields opening. We have 1,200 students who participate in intramural sports, so this is a big deal,” Jordan said.

Some things to remember when visiting the fields in their early stages is that the burms were recently seeded, so attendees must stay on the sidewalks and turf. Also, Jordan predicted that parking will be cramped on that side of campus as P-11, the upper fields lot, is designated as an overnight parking lot.

Jordan said it will almost always be full so be prepared to go for a walk.

Club sports, including club football, will be allowed to practice on the south field along with lacrosse and rugby.

This year, however, club teams will not be playing their games on the new fields.

Jordan said that there is a possibility that the situation could change next year.

“The dome was projected to be done in November, now they’re hoping they can get it done near December, but it may be even January until it’s all completed,” said Scott MacDonald, assistant athletic director for communications.

“The [old bubble] was previously 29,000 square feet, and the new athletic dome will be 108,000 square feet. It’s a multi-purpose training facility,” he said.

“Once the construction is done, there will be an additional parking lot closer to the softball field which will be nice for anyone who is going to watch a softball game, you can actually park near the softball field instead of in the structure.”

OU teams will only be able to use the dome Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.; during the other times, the field is open to rental by Total Sports.The partnership is a true win-win situation for Oakland and Total Sports.

“It was a way for us, the university, to upgrade the facility without spending any money,” MacDonald said.