Regulation-sized soccer field in the works at Western
Planning has begun for a new multipurpose athletic field to serve as the new home of Western’s NCAA Division II soccer teams, the rugby teams and other competitive sport clubs – as well as meet the high demand for recreational field space on Western’s campus.
The field, expected to be completed during the next academic year, will be a fully lighted and fenced, made of artificial turf and sized for regulation soccer and rugby.
Student leaders made the field a top funding priority, recommending that savings from the refinancing of bonds – from the construction of the Wade King Student Recreation Center -- to provide base funding for the field construction.
The generous gift of $1 million gift from Western alumnus Scott Harrington and his family launched the building planning process last spring. The field will be formally known as Robert S. Harrington Field, named for Scott Harrington’s father.
Scott Harrington graduated in 1998 from Western’s accounting program and played on the men’s NCAA Division II soccer team. In addition to Scott, the Harrington family consists of Scott’s brother Mark and their mother, Dolores. The family gives through its family foundation, established by Scott and Mark’s father, Robert, in honor of his parents, Mark and Blanche Harrington.
According to Lynda Goodrich, “There are currently only two other all-weather turf fields in Bellingham that are regulation-sized for soccer. We’re thrilled that the university will soon have a first class facility.”
The project will ultimately include a scoreboard, team benches and scorer’s tables, storage, spectator seating and restrooms. The total turf play area will include an extension to allow more than two games to be played at once. In addition to soccer and rugby, the field will accommodate other sports like lacrosse, softball, flag football and ultimate Frisbee.
About two-thirds of Western’s student body actively participates in club, intramural or NCAA division II sports. But Western doesn’t have enough fields to accommodate these activities. Two fields were lost from construction of new academic facilities on the south quad, and one more was reduced from soccer regulation size when the Chemistry building was built. But new field space has not been a high-enough priority to make it into the state’s capital budget.
Western students serve on a committee working with Zervas Group architects on design. Construction bids will be solicited in early 2013, groundbreaking is expected for May 2013 and the project’s completion is scheduled for November 2013.