Athletics renovations put in motion

November 8, 2006 by Record Staff

The Athletics/Fitness Facilities Master Planning Group announced last Friday in an all-campus e-mail that athletic facilities renovations will begin with an overhaul of the Weston Field complex and improvements to fitness facilities. Although the master plan for the long-term athletic facilities overhaul is not complete, the renovations of these two facilities should not wait, according to co-chairs of the Master Planning Group Steve Klass, Vice President for Operations, and Bill Lenhart, Provost and Treasurer. “It’s important to get this complex initiative right and, at the same time, this is an excellent opportunity to get started on the portions that represent the greatest need,” the e-mail said.

Preliminary projections for the Weston Field renovations estimate a price tag of $12 million. One of the proposed changes is construction a new turf football field, re-oriented to allow room for a second field for recreation and general use. Improvements to the track and field facilities are also planned. Last summer, the College upgraded the existing outdoor track and field spaces, but these were only temporary solutions. The plan also calls for the addition of locker rooms and training areas, more accessible stands and improved parking.

Construction on the Weston Field facilities is slated to begin after the 2007 football season and should be completed before the 2008 season begins. The outdoor track and field facilities at Weston will not be available for one track season.

Although no specifics have been announced, the committee also recognized the need for improved fitness spaces. Construction of a new fitness center will likely be part of more long-term plans, but the committee recognized the need for a solution in the interim. No location or price has been announced.

“The fact that some [of the renovations] could be spun off was discussed, and the committee recognized that this was the time to do that.” Klass said.

“The new project will result in one of the finest track and field facilities in the country,” said Sean Hyland ’07 co-captain of the track team. “This will enable us to host more competitions and allow the Williams community to see us in action.”

However, Hyland expressed concerns about the upcoming season. “The thing that worries me is spring 2008,” he said. “With the track under renovation, where will the team practice? . . . The announcement did not make this clear.”

The Athletics/Fitness Facilities Master Planning Group made their recommendations based on the analysis of facilities provided by the consulting group Canon Design as well as the results of a survey of students, faculty and staff about their use of the facilities and opinions on what could be improved. According to Klass, the athletic facilities master plan is slated for completion by the end of the academic year.

“The next step is to take a comprehensive look at the entire facilities and come

up with the master plan,” Klass said. “We’ve done some excellent research, but we still need to do some benchmarking and see what similar schools have to meet their program

needs. By the end of the academic year, we want to have a full evaluation of all the long-term improvements needed.”

Correction, Nov. 15, 2006:

The Record incorrectly reported in “Athletics Renovations put in motion” (Nov.8) that construction on Weston Field facilities would begin after the 2006 football season and would be completed before the 2007 season.

In fact, construction on the Weston Field facilities is slated to begin after the 2007 football season and should be completed in time for the 2008 season.

The correct information appears on this page.

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