Construction Begins on Near West Playfields Upgrade


It has begun!  The Master Plan, that is.  If you’re still unfamiliar with what the Master Plan is- our Director, John Horn, recently did a great interview with Athletic Business magazine which will provide you with a good knowledge-base!  In reality the Master Plan has been in the works for over a year already.  There has been a lot of work done behind the scenes with architects, staff, students & members, and others planning and coordinating everything that needs to be done.  So what’s the big deal with the Near West Fields?  It is the first instance of physical construction- the first time that Master Plan can be seen shaping the future of the University of Wisconsin campus.

What is happening?

Although the construction of the Near West Fields is, technically, considered an upgrade- it is more akin to completely new construction than it is to an upgrade.  For those of us that are familiar with the [old] Near West Playfields- we know that the accommodations were quite…basic.  This is one of the many reasons students voted for the referendum- the quality of UW’s recreational facilities has not reflected the quality of our University.

The new fields will have  state-of-the-art permeable synthetic turf for year-round, all-weather play.  New LED lights are brighter, safer, and more energy efficient.  Scoreboards!  No more flip-boards, no more awkwardly asking the opposing team what the score might be- let the score shine for everyone to see!

Gated entrances and walkways provide better access and safer play.  Fencing will serve to keep sports equipment contained while providing spectators and participants more clear-cut routes to sporting events.  Containing the fields also makes the fields more identifiable and a stronger identity.  If you weren’t sure where the Near West fields were before- you won’t be able to miss them when the project is complete!

When will the Near West Fields project be completed?

The projected completion is set for November 2016 (This year!).  We are working and communicating with our contractors and partners to keep the timeline on-target.  Barring any major delays members should be able to use the new fields near the end of the Fall semester!

Why does this matter for students?

More play.  The new turf will be effective in all weather conditions: rain or shine.  Only severe weather conditions will close the fields.  No more cancelled games because of a little drizzle!

More sports.  The new facilities will be able to accommodate Lacrosse, baseball, softball, flag football, soccer, and more!

Better, safer play.  New lighting, scoreboards, access, and  facilities means that there’s not just more- it’s better. We’re a world-renowned University that is getting Rec facilities to match.

What’s next?

The biggest project coming up in about one year will be the de-commissioning of the SERF, scheduled for September of 2017.  This is a big one.  There are lots of updates set for the upcoming months so stay tuned.




Play Hard. Get Fit. Live Well


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