The University of Minnesota is dedicating $7.2 million toward a Student Recreational Sports Field Complex located next to Siebert Field.
The University will fund the 90,000-square-foot facility using the same Student Capital Enhancement Fee that was used to fund the $59 million Recreation Center renovations.
The complex will be used primarily for intramural and club sports and also for general student use — similar to the University Field House.
It will have a synthetic turf soccer field and a natural grass softball diamond, and it will be heated and covered by a temporary bubble-dome from November to April each year.
“We’ve had a lack of field space for our intramural and club sports, as well as our youth and community programs,” Director for Recreational Sports Jim Turman said. “Part of the issue is the weather and our fields have historically not been in great condition.”
The facility is expected to open when spring semester starts and will house the men’s and women’s soccer, rugby and lacrosse club teams among many others.
Currently, many University club and intramural sports practice at the Field House, which does not have a turf field and is often overcrowded, Turman said.
The Field House “has always been a bad place to practice,” men’s rugby president Ryan Mintz said. “We only get two tennis courts essentially and can’t do any kind of tackling drills.”
According to the University’s Master Plan, the Field House is set to be demolished, but there is no timetable in place.
Due to a lack of space, many club teams also travel to the St. Paul campus to use their limited recreational field space.
“The field is heavily used and gets torn up quickly,” men’s soccer club president Trevor Goodwin said in an email. “The new facility will ease pressure because turf is much more durable.”
The new facility’s synthetic turf is similar to that of TCF Bank Stadium and will be available for general student use beginning in January, according to Turman.
The Student Capital Enhancement Fee was first introduced during the fall of 2008 and used primarily to fund the 145,000-square-foot expansion to the University’s Recreation Center, according to a Board of Regents plan.
The plan allotted $80 million from the fee toward recreational facilities.
The fee has a cap at $75 per student each semester and is set to increase incrementally until it ends in the spring of 2013.
This year, all undergraduates are paying $60 per semester for the fee.
“The way I see it, it’s just another amenity to the Rec Center,” Mintz, the rugby club president, said. “All students can use it, and we’ll all finally have a field to use during the winter months.”
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