‘Master plan’ hits athletic fields

Bryan Lipiner

The TD Bank Sports Center and the Quinnipiac athletic fields have received upgrades recently, both physically and visually. Improvements have been made to the walls of Lender Court, while the softball and soccer fields have had various facelifts.

“Improvements have been made to the basketball wall, we refer to it as the student end zone,” Director of Athletics and Recreation Jack McDonald said. “That job is complete, and the students will see that when we have Bobcat Madness next month, it’s going to look nice.”

The student end zone has been renovated over the summer, with the goal being adding glass instead of concrete for the back wall of the end zone. Construction on the arena has so far continued into the semester.

“We also made an adjustment to the University Club,” McDonald added. “Even though the building is five years old, there were some things, when the time was permitted, we wanted to fix. It’s been something that’s been thought about for awhile, just the time wasn’t right. In addition to the TD Bank Sports Center, the majority of athletics fields on the Mount Carmel campus have been improved. The softball field had a warning track added to all ends of the field, while also pushing the fences back after advice from the NCAA.”

McDonald said the softball field fence was pushed back to 200 feet down the foul lines, which is recommended by the NCAA, and 220 feet to center field, compared to last year’s 200 feet in center field.

Last season, the women’s softball team hit four consecutive home runs to tie an NCAA record. The home runs were hit over the outfield fences before they were pushed back to their new distances.

“We are very grateful for the resources allocated to improve the safety of the softball facility,” Quinnipiac softball head coach Germaine Fairchild said. “The previous fences and dimensions needed to be altered to ensure the safety of student-athletes, and the University, Facilities department, and contractors all did an outstanding job on the project.”
The soccer field’s irrigation system has also obtained renovations, although it has yet to be perfected.

“When we really get soaked with rain, it really holds water. The facilities department has done a phenomenal job,” McDonald said. “The soccer venue is going to part of the master plan of whether we keep it there, move it somewhere else, keep natural grass or go with artificial grass.”

Several times over the past few years the field has flooded and forced both the men’s and women’s teams to cancel their upcoming matches. As the progress on the fields continues, they hope to end that from happening due to poor field conditions.

McDonald mentioned that the “master plan” is an ongoing project, and will continue for much of the next four years as a series of improvement to Quinnipiac’s athletics facilities.
“The athletic facilities for both student recreation, intramurals, hopefully club sports… Our meetings will be this fall, to start looking at what the needs are,” McDonald said. “They’ll be major improvements to both the indoor and outdoor facilities, it will be a significant investment.”

McDonald has many ideas in place such as adding new scoreboards, or possibly introducing lights to the fields, however these won’t be decided until meetings take place later on in the semester.
“The TD Bank Sports Center, I call it the best building in college athletics. We’d like the rest of our facilities to be equal to that,” McDonald said. “There’ll be a lot of exciting things happening.”