Vandeventer field goes green, permanently

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Vandeventer field goes green, permanently

John Schler/Photo Edito

John Schler/Photo Edito

John Schler/Photo Edito

John Schler/Photo Edito

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An improved facility to the campus of Saint Louis University was completed just in time for the start of the Fall 2012 semester, as the athletic field on the corner of Vandeventer Avenue and Laclede Street was revamped with brand new synthetic turf. This field is now available full-time for intramural and club teams, as well as open recreational hours for all students every day.

John Schler/Photo Edito

“I had heard years of concern with the field. As an intramural player, it was obvious to me how this could increase usage, prevent injuries, and bring people together in a fun and recreational way,” said Matt Ryan, former president of the Student Government Association.

When it became apparent to the SLU administration that the condition of the field was causing injuries to students, they responded to the feedback from SGA and the students and agreed to work with them to help find a better solution.

Ryan worked diligently with Kent Porterfield, Vice President of Student Development, President Lawrence Biondi S.J., the Simon Recreation Center staff and the Facilities Department to get the project approved and underway as quickly as possible. When current SGA president, Blake Exline, took over, he continued to meet with Porterfield throughout the summer to ensure the field would be ready for use by the beginning of the 2012-2013 academic year.

Both club sports and the intramural program have benefited greatly from this remodel.

“The Intramural program is thrilled with the new turf field, and we feel it is going to improve our program for students,” Sam Kellner, director of intramurals, said. “In the past, games had to be cancelled due to weather and field conditions. With the new field, the playing surface will be more consistent and there won’t be a need to wait for the field to dry. We can even play in the rain!”

Both flag football and soccer intramural leagues will utilize the turf, and students are jumping at the chance to play.

“We have had the most teams sign up for this session of intramurals than ever before in the history of SLU,” Michael Gaines, intramural administrative assistant, said.

The club rugby team and the men’s and women’s club soccer teams will also be using the new field for practices and games. Casey O’Brien, a junior on the women’s club soccer team, has already gotten the chance to try out the turf.

“The women’s club soccer team practiced there over the weekend and absolutely loved it,” O’Brien said. “It increased our level of play significantly and made us more competitive. We don’t have to hold back due to fear of injury caused by the surface anymore.”

Dominic Bonello, coach of the women’s club soccer team, agreed the new field has improved the quality of play.

“The field increases the level of enjoyment and willingness to play. It’s fun to play and not have to worry about the ball stopping in the middle of a mud puddle,” said Bonello.

The new field has been in use almost constantly since its opening, and the SLU student body has given nothing but positive feedback about the renovation.

“I am very excited that SLU decided to provide an adequate and beautiful athletic field for non-scholarship athletes to compete and grow in the Jesuit mindset of building the complete person,” said senior Steve Siemborski. Exline is optimistic about the impact student feedback has had on the progress of the field renovation.

“It is wonderful to see an outdoor recreational space on-campus that can be used day-in and day-out by students. The new field surface should serve as a reminder to all students that we do have a voice on campus and that SGA should always be used a resource for making positive change within our SLU community,” said Exline. The Simon Recreation Center had an official unveiling of the new field scheduled for Sept. 17, but was canceled due to rain.