Bill Alfond Field to Ease Winter's Sting

 

 

Every generation of Colby students includes some who wish Maine winters weren't quite so long, and few of those students yearn for clear fields and dry ground in March and April more fervently than spring-season athletes. Though Maine weather isn't likely to change, installation of a synthetic turf playing field will take some of the sting out of late winter at Colby

image
The new field will be available for practice and games earlier in the season, long before natural fields are free of snow.
Illustration by Brian Speer
Construction of the Bill Alfond Field began in June after William '72 and Joan Alfond made a $1.35-million gift in the form of a fund-raising challenge. Enthusiasm for the project, evident in contributions to fulfill the Alfonds' challenge, was such that the construction schedule was accelerated this summer, and Administrative Vice President and Treasurer Arnie Yasinski said the field would be ready this fall, well before February 15, the earliest date under NESCAC rules that spring sports teams can practice.

The synthetic surface can be plowed of snow so teams will be able to practice before natural fields are snow-free. The Bill Alfond Field will be equipped with lights, allowing use into evening hours. The new facility will permit early-season home lacrosse games in Waterville after many years in which games had to be moved to Lewiston or Brunswick until Colby's natural fields dried out.

The synthetic turf field emerged as a priority in the strategic Plan for Colby, approved in 2002. In announcing the Alfonds' gift this spring, President William Adams said, "We must remain competitive, both in regard to our athletic teams and to attracting applicants for admission, and Bill and Joan Alfond's gift helps in both respects by providing Colby with a state-of-the-art facility. Their generosity carries on a family tradition that has helped shape the College as it is today," he said, referring to a long list of philanthropic contributions from the Alfond family.

Of Colby's 32 varsity sports, 11 are teams that play on outdoor fields and will use the new field, for competition, practices or both. Colby's club and intramural sports also will use the surface, and the field will be available for use by the greater Waterville community as scheduled by the College.

The overall project will include a 240- by 360-foot playing surface, lighting, bleachers, restrooms and a scoreboard. "We have the best student athletes and the best coaches," Bill Alfond said. "In order for Colby to be a winner, this synthetic grass field is the last piece of the puzzle."

"Athletics play a powerful role in the educational process and we recognize how important team experiences are to individual students and to the College," Adams said. More information about the proposed facility is online at www.colby.edu/athletics/facilities/alfondfield.shtml.