On April 8, Fairfield officially released a video that illustrates the plan for the renovation of Alumni Field into a large-scale stadium. The video, while it shows the aesthetics of the plans, left a few questions to be answered regarding some of the more in-depth aspects of the stadium.

As Alumni Field stands now, it is used for both men’s and women’s soccer when Lessing Field is unplayable, and certain men’s and women’s lacrosse games are held there as well. It is used as a practice facility to all four of those teams as well as the home field for Fairfield Prep’s football, lacrosse and soccer teams.

With the new stadium, not much will change, but the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams for Fairfield University will permanently make that their home field.

“It will primarily be home to men’s and women’s lacrosse. It will still be the inclement weather site for men’s and women’s soccer. It will be Fairfield Prep’s primary venue for football, soccer and lacrosse,” said Director of Athletics Gene Doris.

Another feature of the current Alumni Field is the lack of what some might deem suitable seating for fans. Even with Lessing Field, there is no seating that is appropriate for large audiences.

The new stadium is suited to fix this problem. In the video, you can see the bleachers spanning both sidelines.

“Maximum capacity will be 3,500, which is ideal for all the teams that will use it,” said Doris.

What will not change in the renovation is the usage of artificial turf as the field itself. The turf being used will be Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 6.04.56 PMredone, and changed to a higher quality.

“It has been quite some time that renovation or replacement of Alumni Field has been discussed. The fact that the ‘life expectancy’ of the field surface was nearing an end inspired more serious discussion,” said Doris.

Overall, the new stadium is going to bring a lot of changes to the experience of watching Fairfield sports. There are several amenities that are in the plans for the new stadium that are not currently in place in Fairfield athletic complex.

“The stadium will have permanent stands with the home side benches moving to the west (opposite of where they are today). In addition, it will have a permanent press box, VIP suite, concession stand, bathrooms, and visiting team rooms,” said Doris.

Doris also said that the lighting for the new stadium is going to be state-of-the-art, an addition that is going to make the stadium more technologically advanced than Lessing Field and even the current Alumni Field.

The stadium is predicted to benefit the athletic community of Fairfield in more ways than one.

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 6.04.21 PM“The new stadium helps all of our field sports … Walsh Athletic Center is the hub of our activity. Having a state-of-the-art stadium joined will help to recruit to all of our sports,” said Doris.

Narrowing in specifically to lacrosse, the stadium is being built with them in mind and is intended to benefit them significantly.

“Our lacrosse programs have been growing on national stature, as has the sport itself. I have been amazed at the lacrosse facilities built in the last five years. To remain competitive at the level of our peers, the new stadium is significant,” said Doris.

Men’s lacrosse Head Coach Andy Copelan said that he was “thrilled” with how the new stadium looks and what it will do for the programs.

“I think we all understand that Alumni Field as it is is dated, and it is something that needs to be addressed,” said Copelan. “College lacrosse and college athletics in general is an arms race, and in some ways it is a facilities arm race, so I’m happy it’s being addressed. I wish it were here tomorrow.”

One of the significant questions people are going to ask regarding the new stadium is: “How much is it going to cost?”

According to Stephanie Frose, vice president for University Advancement, “The stadium project is projected to cost between $8 [and] $9 million. We have approximately half of that committed thus far in pledges/gifts and we are continuing to fundraise for the rest.”

Some of the younger athletes are expected to have the opportunity to play in the new stadium before they graduate.

“We are in the process of completing the construction documents with Cannon Design out of Boston. We anticipate 100 percent complete documents by the end of August. Construction could start at any time after the completion of the documents. We would anticipate a construction schedule of approximately nine months,” said David Frassinelli, associate vice president for Facilities Management.

With the current renovations happening to Alumni Hall and the completion of the renovations to University Field, Alumni Field 2it’s an exciting time for the coming of age of Fairfield athletic complexes.

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