Cherry Avenue Field to host club sports east of Rec Center
Construction has begun on a new sports field east of the Student Recreation Center. (Photo courtesy of Student Recreation Center)
Club sports and the Student Recreation Center will have an additional home this upcoming fall as construction for Cherry Avenue Field began recently.
The field, which will be east of the Rec Center, will host club sports, intramurals, fitness classes and informal recreation.
Several club sports currently play at Murphey Field at Lohse Stadium, but a Title IX report indicates that next year it will solely be used for women’s soccer, forcing club sports to relocate to the new facility.
A part of the UA master plan, derived from the university’s comprehensive campus plan, the new facility has always been a part of the Rec Center’s future, according to John Lloyd, associate director for facilities and management.
“We’re always trying to update the Student Rec Center and keep it fresh,” Lloyd added.
The natural field grass will cover both the current Rec Center parking area and Cherry Avenue between Sixth and Seventh Street, and the lit playing ground will be fenced with 750 seat bleachers flanking its west side. This crowd space will be one long column around eight to 10 rows high, contrary to pictures around the Rec Center, according to Lloyd.
The facility construction, spanning from January to July, began with the demolishment of the parking lot and stretch of Cherry Avenue. The area will be leveled before construction of the facility, which will take three to four months, as it’s scheduled, according to Lloyd. The final phase involves laying out the grass, which will use “reclaimed water in an effort to stay as green as possible,” Lloyd said. This phase will be completed by July 1 in order to have the field ready for the fall.
“It’s really exciting for us as a department and as a university,” said Drew Braden, facility services coordinator.
Additionally, this upcoming fall Wildcat Threads will sell club sports merchandise to generate fanbase support, according to Lynn Zwaagstra, director of campus recreation. They will also construct “an area similar to the McKale Center’s Hall of Champions,” which will commemorate UA students and staff who have made contributions or achievements in the area of recreation.
To compensate for lost parking space around the Rec Center, a proposed four-level South Stadium parking structure accommodating approximately 900 parking spaces is being discussed, and if approved, will be constructed by July 2014, according to a December University of Arizona Planning Design & Construction addendum. Furthermore, to replace the lost Cherry Avenue transit, a pedestrian/bicycle path will go on the east side of the fenced field in between the two structures.
Although the field is not yet completed, some students are excited for what is to come.
“You’ll feel kind of more part of the athletic base of the university because when you’re kind of separating the club teams and you’re putting them that far away, you sometimes don’t feel a part of the campus,” said Sergio Mejia, a senior studying communication and marketing and a men’s club soccer team player.
“When you’re right there next to the rec where everybody is, you’ll kind of get the recognition a lot more, and by having that, you’re going to feel more pride and proud of being on that team and representing the U of A.”