Rec fields rise from Small Group rubble

Rachel Rathjens

Two soccer fields take former dorms’ place

Credit: DKS Editors

The former Small Group area will open in Fall 2010 for recreational use for Kent State students.

The ground where the Small Group residence halls once stood has been flattened out and filled in – replaced by two full-size soccer fields. The main usage of the fields will be for intramural and club sports, but the fields will also be available for students to use.

The area is currently fenced off so the grass can be established on the newly created ground.

Not all the buildings from Small Group were demolished. The buildings still remaining are Stewart Hall, Harbourt Hall, Van Campen Hall and Heer Hall. Van Campen Hall is currently being used for housing.

The other three buildings are currently vacant but will be rehabilitated and used for administrative purposes for the university.

Demolition of Small Group began in the late summer of 2008. The task cost Residence Services $860,000 to demolish the seven buildings.

The buildings were demolished because they were not up to code in the sense of handicap accessibility and would have been costly to rehabilitated.

The new fields are not the only addition to the Small Group area.

“We are working on an extension of walkways that runs along Summit Street down closer to White Hall Terrace,” said Michael Bruder, director of design and construction at the Office of University Architect.

Kimberly Rufra, associate director of Recreational Services, explained the adding of the new fields will benefit Recreational Services because of the loss of other fields on campus in the past to new projects.

Recreational Services lost the field next to the Student Recreation and Wellness Center because of the construction of the Sigma Nu house.

Rufra said the goal of the new space is to have everything be on the same side of campus as the rec center.

“The proximity of the fields is great,” Rufra said. “We want this side of campus to be a ‘recreation corridor.'”

Students have mixed feelings about the new recreational fields being added to campus.

“I think it will be nice for students to have a place to play intramural sports,” said Sean Coyne, senior aviation management major. “At the same time, as an overall university, I think the space could have been used better.”

Rufra said Recreational Services wants the fields to eventually become an actual complex park setting, but funding is not available for that project just yet.

The enhancements to make it a park-like atmosphere would include lighting, scoreboards, fencing, restrooms and picnic tables.

“We will start with the lights first because that is the main priority for more use of the fields,” Rufra said.

Rufra said a goal of the new fields would be to get more exposure, and the location of the fields helps because they are more on campus.

“The proximity of the fields is our hope that people will see and they would be more likely to participate or to be involved, whether it be as a participant or a spectator,” Rufra said.

Another goal of Recreational Services is to make the outdoor facilities the same quality as the indoor facilities they have now.

“We want our facilities to reflect Kent State University and its mission,” Rufra said. “We also want them to reflect the Recreation Services’ mission as well.”

Contact buildings, grounds and transportation reporter Rachel Rathjens at [email protected]