by Jeff Palmer ’76
The Kalamazoo College Athletic Field Complex is headed toward the finish line. Or perhaps we should say end zone? Goal? Home plate? Regardless, the $16 million, 13-month project is drawing to a close. Here are some highlights of the highly anticipated facility.
The new 25,000 square foot field house sports locker rooms to accommodate football, soccer, baseball, softball, and lacrosse. Women’s lacrosse will debut as a club sport in 2013 and as a varsity sport in 2014. Men’s lacrosse will follow. Both are spring sports.
The field house also houses locker rooms for coaches and game officials, offices and team meeting rooms, conditioning and athletic training space, a banquet room, and the College’s first geo-thermal heating and cooling system.
A new 9,000 square foot stadium services building houses concessions, storage, a press box that serves multiple fields, and MANY restrooms.
A 133-space parking lot off West Michigan Avenue increases off-street vehicle parking and moves it away from neighborhood residences.
Both MacKenzie Field (soccer) and Angell Field (football) feature artificial turf. Following a successful rezoning effort with the City of Kalamazoo, MacKenzie now sports stadium lights that may be used up to 60 nights a year for practices and games, including intramural contests. Lights on Angell Field will be installed in four years, when the lacrosse programs are fully running.
The combination of lights and artificial turf means more efficient scheduling for Hornet athletic contests and practices. Student athletes will no longer have to leave afternoon classes early for home games (or avoid taking afternoon classes altogether), and varsity, club, and intramural teams can hold practices and games throughout the day until 10:30 p.m. (when K has agreed to turn off the lights)—with no worries about wearing out the fields.
New natural grass baseball and softball fields—complete with new dugouts and other amenities—are slated to open for the spring 2013 seasons. (No lights on these fields.) A new multipurpose grass field (roughly where old Calder Field House used to reside) will also be open next spring.
All fields have new seating, scoreboards, and public-address systems. The entire complex has new landscaping, pedestrian lighting, and a site-wide storm-water drainage system.
“Our terrific new outdoor athletic facility literally levels the playing field for
"It's and investment in the College [for] all K students."our student athletes and coaches,” said K President Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran. “It’s an investment in the College that all K students, parents, alumni, and fans will enjoy for many years. It will help Hornet coaches and K admission officers in their recruiting efforts, and help propel us toward our enrollment goal of 1,500 students.”
The first Hornet athletes to use the new facility were football players who reported for practice on August 10, followed by the soccer teams a week later. Women’s soccer hosted the first home contest at the site on September 7. “Community Night” will be held Sept. 26 to invite the Kalamazoo community to see the changes at the site. A dedication ceremony for the entire facility will be held at 1PM, Oct. 20, just prior to the Hornet football game during Homecoming weekend.
Visit www.kzoo.edu/sports for more info on these events, to see photos of the renovated athletics fields, and read about the fall sports program at K.
Visit www.kzoo.edu/giving to learn how about a special Fields Commemoration Program and other opportunities to provide financial support to Hornet athletics.