Intramural fields expected to return Spring 2018

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In May 2016, intramural fields No. 2 and No. 3 began reconstruction under the orders of Huntsville’s Town Creek project to fix issues with flooding. However, construction has been delayed, leaving students and faculty wondering when they will be open to the public again. Intramural field No. 1 is also being reconstructed later this semester.

Brian Weaver, Senior Assistant Director of Intramural and Club Sports said that intramural fields No. 2 and No. 3 were supposed to be finished on Aug. 31, but the flooding from Hurricane Harvey delayed reconstruction.

“We had the concrete flumes put in on the east and west side of the field,” Weaver said. “That will hopefully help to alleviate some of the flooding that was happening on the field and then those concrete flumes, before they were even finished, completely had a 500-year flood event that no one anticipated so that caused a delay.”

Weaver hopes that reconstruction for Intramural Field 2 and 3 will be finished before the end of September.

“So now we’re probably looking at the end of September for those fields to be done,” Weaver said, “But that’s going to depend on finding a funding source for the reconstruction process that now needs to be done. There’s quite a bit of sand, dirt, and sod build-up that’s been displaced, so that’s going to depend on finding a funding source for that and making sure we can get that done.”

According to Keith Jenkins, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Director of Recreational Sports, the fields are expected to be finished in Spring 2018, given no major floodings occur.

“Because of the work done,” Jenkins said. “There’s certain requirements that have to comply with what’s called the ADA (the American Disability Act), there has to be what’s called switchback sidewalks put in. They have to complete the task, so if we get lucky, those fields [intramural fields No. 2 and No. 3] would be usable for the spring of 2018. If we continue to have rain like what just came through with Harvey, it could extent that period of time.”

Jenkins also confirmed that once intramural field No. 1 closes, it will not reopen until Spring 2020 at the latest.

“As soon as they are finished with the Bowers/Bobby K. Marks intersection by the Coliseum,” Jenkins said. “Then they’re going to tear up intramural field No. 1. They’re going to connect the drainage so that it’s all lined-up together. If we get lucky, then we would have intramural field No. 1 back for the fall of 2019 or the spring of 2020.”

Due to the overdrawn reconstruction of the intramural fields, no intramural or club sports program is expected to drop out. However, Weaver noted that intramural participation dropped last year.

“I don’t really think so, because we’ve been able to shift things around in our schedule to be able to handle the situation”, Weaver said. “It has not impacted the addition of any new programs. It has definitely impacted some of our numbers we had from last year. We did see a decrease in some of the participation we had from last year. I think that was the direct result of the field construction.”

Along with the installment of a new underground drainage system, the fields also saw a reduction in playing space. This is affecting certain sports such as softball and rugby, which can no longer be played on intramural fields No. 2 and No. 3. The sports effected are being moved to the newly lighted Holleman Field located at the intersection of Avenue M and Josey Street.

“Our rugby team used to play on intramural field No. 3,” Jenkins said, “And now there’s no possibility we’re going to play rugby because there’s not a large enough surface to do that. But we did make preparations over at Holleman Field to be able to have that as an additional field that we can use.”

As the fields undergo continued work and teams have to reschedule games, frustrations continue to mount months after the expected completion date for the project.