Alfond Gift Brings New Turf Football Field and Track

 

By Ruth Jacobs
Photography by Stephen Collins '74
 

Opening with the football season this fall will be a new artificial turf field surrounded by many other improvements including a reconstructed track, new lighting, and landscaping that will help give the field a stadium feel. The result will be named in honor of Harold Alfond.

track construction
Construction, in June, of the new track and field, as seen from above. The project, which will be named for Harold Alfond, is scheduled to be completed before the first home game.
Elements of the old track and field were proving a hindrance to athletes, according to Director of Athletics Marcella Zalot. Uneven ground, poor drainage, hard, clay surfaces on the practice field, and a worn, cracked track were among the issues being addressed. “They were two pretty good facilities whose useful life had definitely come to an end,” she said.

The new space will be safer and more accommodating for athletes. The turf field won’t turn into a muddy mess as the old one did after rainfall. “All it takes is one bad weather day to ruin the field,” football coach Ed Mestieri told the Morning Sentinel in April. “That’s something we’re not going to have to worry about.” Additionally, the new field will provide even footing, so students will be less likely to turn an ankle.

In the spring the lacrosse teams will be able to practice as soon as the snow melts. The soccer teams will also use the field and, based on availability, so too will club sports, intramurals, and local schools, said Zalot.

The gift for the field and related improvements, from the Harold Alfond Foundation, was the last personal commitment that Harold Alfond made to Colby before his death in November 2007.

Trustees approved the $6-million project in April 2008. Construction began April 28, with accommodations so that spring track and field contestants training for postseason competition could continue to work out in their respective events.
 
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