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Wesleyan's new turf field, located behind Physical Plant on Long Lane, was dedicated April 29 during a ribbon cutting ceremony. It is expected to be available for use later this month.

Posted 05.04.06

Turf Field Completed, Will Open this Month

Wesleyan athletes will be breaking new ground this month on their new synthetic turf field.

The field, dedicated April 29 during a ribbon cutting ceremony, will be put to use in May. Men’s and women’s soccer, lacrosse and field hockey teams will use the outdoor field regularly, and it will be available for several other activities, as well.

John Biddiscombe, director of athletics and chair of physical education, said Wesleyan is among the last universities in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) to possess a turf field.

“We’re no longer the turf nomads,” he said during the outdoor ceremony. “We’re no longer at the disadvantage.”

The artificial field, composed of Polytan Megagrass 2025, is located behind the Physical Plant building on Long Lane. Underneath the synthetic “grass” is a rubber padding, gravel and drainage pipes to keep the field puddle-free in the event of wet weather.

Men’s Head Lacrosse Coach John Raba said the field will be ideal for on- and off-season practices. In addition, the turf will serve as a drawing card for recruiting top student-athletes.

Baseball and softball teams will also use the field for pre-season practice in late February when Bacon Field House becomes overcrowded. The field will be available for selected club sports, intramural play, sport camps and selected use by the local community.

“This is a great situation for us, and for all sports,” Raba said, who cut the ribbon. “I’m going to guess that this field is always going to be busy.”

Wesleyan’s Office of University Relations and Athletics personnel worked with parents and alumni to raise the $920,000 needed to build the field. More than 160 alumni, parents and friends of the university were actively involved in helping to raise the funding for the field, including Bill Belichick, ’75, P’07, Moira Byer P'06, David Campbell '75, P ‘10, Michael and Marilyn Dee P'06, Mike McKenna ’73, Jim Walsh P'07, Cole and Katherine Werble P'07 and Preston Smith '64, P'06.

Preston Smith, who’s son, Matt, is a varsity lacrosse player, reminded the ribbon-cutting ceremony audience that it took the fund-raising effort of five teams, with support form five decades of alumni, to provide the two-acre turf field.

“This field is not only the best in the division, but the best in New England,” Smith said to the crowd.

Wesleyan hopes to raise another $400,000 to pay for lights, bleachers, a scoreboard, protective netting and a paved walkway between the Freeman Gymnasium and the turf field.
 
By Olivia Bartlett, Wesleyan Connection editor