Hayden Park will open three new sports fields next fall. The three fields, one of which is a practice field, are currently undergoing preparation and seeding for use when they are open for campus-wide use in September. The fields, however, are specifically being designed with intramural sports in mind.
The new fields will measure 140 x 90 meters. They will be used in addition with Simpson Field, located behind Frank “Muddy” Waters Stadium. In the past, the area was used for parking spaces, according to Hayden Park Director Bill Lundberg. After getting input from students, the college found a need for more soccer fields in addition to those at Simpson Field, he said.
“This area is going to be dedicated to athletic competitions that are non-varsity sports,” Lundberg said. “Things like IM football could take place; things like rugby and soccer. We have a soccer field down at Simpson Field which is used by the Academy and our club soccer teams. They would continue using that field because it’s focused for them. The IM fields could be used as practice fields for different sports.”
Director of Recreational Sports and Athletic Facilities Brad Kocher said in an email that these new fields will be an excellent new resource for students to “get outside and be active.”
“The fields will be used for IM, club sports, and all students looking for an area to be active. Hayden park has become a hub for outdoor activity,” he wrote. “The goal is to continue to make Hayden park an outdoor do-all activity space for students.”
Junior Jessie Wilcox, an assistant director for Campus Recreation, believes the new fields will help students get more use out of Hayden.
“With all the work they’ve been doing on it, it’s been really cool to have more stuff out there,” she said. “It will be good for IM, club soccer, and everything else to have their own field. We won’t have to work around the football team’s schedule. It’ll be really good for getting out there and having our own space to plan stuff.”
Although the fields open in six months, there’s still maintenance to be done. Lundberg said seeding will happen this spring and summer.
“It’s set up with an irrigation system; That’s going to be important for the growth and maintenance,” he said.
Lundberg said the need for the new fields came up within the past year.
“The college made a commitment to those fields,” he said. “There was a big amount toward that effort. There wasn’t any particular fundraising. We’re really grateful to our senior administrators, especially as we organized and designed them. I’m really enthused for the students and the staff and their families. It’s something that will be a great added venue for Hayden Park.”
According to Lundberg, the fields will be scheduled for campus events, primarily, but students can work with scheduling to reserve times to visit the fields for personal use. He said, however, that the plan is for the fields to be “very accessible and useful” to all students.
Campus Rec already has plans for the fall. According to Wilcox, they are lining up games and tournaments on the fields.
“Our first sport we do, starting in September, will be intramural football,” she said. “Then we’re possibly going to have soccer tournaments, like our volleyball tournaments. We’re going to do our intramural soccer out there next spring.”
Lundberg is glad for the wide variety of uses the fields can offer campus.
“We are super excited about that fact that we can accommodate Student Activities’ special events and Campus Rec events,” he said.