The south side of campus now sports a blue and orange New Paltz emblem in part of the recent installment of a new turf field.
Intended for intramural and club sports use, the turf is bringing a much needed playing ground to students who are looking to get involved in the program and stay active.
Over the past few years, weather had severely impacted the ability of club and intramural teams to play on-campus because many of the grass fields would get water-logged after storms and were then unsafe to play on, according to Director of Athletics Stuart Robinson. Now that the turf field is here, intramural and club sports teams will be able to utilize the area to their full potential.
Assistant Director of Wellness and Recreation Joe Deck said the installation of the turf field is a huge step in ensuring that planned programming stays on schedule and doesn’t get cancelled due to field conditions. As long as there isn’t thunder and lightning, the sports will go on.
“The turf helps round out our ability to not have to cancel events,” Deck said. “I think that’s the biggest disappointment when you’re involved in intramurals is that you may only play one game a week- and then you can’t. We won’t have to run into that anymore, which is great. It provides students a little more ease to know that what they signed up for is going to happen.”
Since its opening, the turf has brought an increased number of intramural players to its helm. Thirteen flag football teams have signed up for the program this semester. Deck said within his seven years working with this program, he has never seen this many sign up, let alone have a co-ed team on the rosters as well.
Second-year intramural player Jack O’Brien said he is very pleased with this new addition to campus and has thoroughly enjoyed being able to use it for his flag football team.
“It has a great design and is in a prime location for some serious intramural fun,” he said. “My favorite part about the field is obviously the openness and space, but the blue and orange color scheme is amazing too. It looks very modern and clean.”
Completely painted with lines for soccer and lacrosse, it is also divided in half so that student groups can split the area in two for use in other activities, such as playing ultimate frisbee or catch.
Aside from providing an area for intramural sports to be played, the turf is also equipped to host athletic events like men’s and women’s soccer games. Because it can function in wet conditions while other fields cannot, the turf can serve as a backup for these events in case their allocated fields are unplayable for any reason. According to Deck, in the past home soccer matches have had to be moved off-campus because the grass fields were too wet.
Last April, the intramural softball teams weren’t able to start their seasons until the fields were free of snow and moisture, which left them with only a three-week season. This spring, Deck said, these post-spring break intramurals will be able to start off much sooner because the turf will be ready to play on when the snow has been cleared.This will provide players with an overall longer season than past years in the upcoming spring semester.
“When post-spring break intramurals begin, we will be able to get back on there and not worry about water,” he said. “This will then provide a longer season for students to participate in intramurals. Rather than having a three-week season, we can have a five-week season and a sixth week for playoffs.”
Robinson said in addition to the increased usage and enhanced safety standards of the field, it has also become less of an effort to maintain as well.
“There is still some maintenance that needs to take place such as sweeping the turf to remove debris,” he said. “Unlike the grass fields, there will be no need to worry about mowing or fertilizing the field, which in the overall scheme means that less man hours will be needed to maintain it.”
Looking forward, Deck said he is anticipating a busy future for the turf and has already begun thinking of new events that can be held there. Possible events include ultimate frisbee and kickball tournaments as well as soccer tournaments.
“Anything you can think of, we could have down there,” Deck said. “We are always looking to keep up on trends. I think that the overall response of the turf field has been fantastic and I can definitely see us trying a number of special events.”