Field and equipment renovations are something that many Elizabethtown College athletes and coaches would enjoy seeing in the near future. There have been numerous discussions about a five-year strategic plan, installing a new press box in the soccer stadium and some chatter about an additional turf field.
Over the past few months, an athletics strategic planning committee has been working to develop a five-year strategic plan for Blue Jay athletics. “We will be working in the coming weeks to ensure that the athletics’ plan coordinates with and complements the college-wide plan that is now being developed,” explained Nancy Latimore, the director of athletics and physical education at Etown.
One of the main goals of the plan is to improve the condition of Etown’s athletic equipment. The objective of the plan is “to work with the College’s Facilities Planning and Construction Committee to create a five-year master plan for the development of athletic, recreational and fitness facilities.”
One renovation that Skip Roderick, the head coach of the men’s soccer team, would like to see is the installation of a new press box in the soccer stadium.
According to Roderick, the current press box that presides over Ira R. Herr Field was built in the ’70s and is not as safe as it once was. It was, however, just reinforced last spring as a safety precaution.
Roderick’s ideal press box would be on the same side as the bleachers. That way it could have bathrooms and hopefully even a snack bar for the fans. The press box would be an attempt to “try to dress up the field a little better,” Roderick explained.
Latimore noted that the project has not yet been approved, but “Coach Roderick has talked with some alumni and donors about the project.” He has talked to donors and alumni because, if a new press box were to be installed, it would be purchased with money obtained purely through fundraising.
Roderick would like to build a new press box in honor of his assistant coach, Gene Clemens. Clemens, who was originally a philosophy and religion professor at Etown, has been working with Roderick for over 20 years and also takes photos of both the men’s and women’s soccer games. Clemens deserves this recognition for “the wonderful memories that he has given to all the former players,” Roderick added.
Contrary to some students’ beliefs, Roderick did not receive an offer from the school to install a turf field in the soccer stadium. While another turf field would benefit many of the athletic programs, one is not currently in the works.
“We would love to have a second artificial turf field, especially at times like this when we are experiencing a monsoon season; however, it is unlikely that we will install another turf field any time soon,” Latimore reported.
Roderick is content with the soccer stadium continuing to be a grass field. “I would rather have the soccer field remain on grass, but whatever the school feels is necessary,” Roderick said.
Many schools that install turf fields do so because they do not have enough space for grass surfaces and athletic facilities must be used as multi-purpose fields. This change also leads to fewer postponed sporting activities. However, Etown is not as short on space as some other schools and, therefore, the College is able to have numerous playing fields.
In terms of other renovations, the track is being repaired in preparation for the conference track and field championships that Etown will host in May of 2012. Money for a new sound system for the outdoor athletic facilities is also in the works. This project will also use the funds generated by this year’s Poole Blue Jay Open Golf Tournament.