A stretch of Oregon State University’s campus along Southwest 30th Street between Washington and Jefferson Ways is now home to a park-like complex of athletic fields, courts, treelined walkways and benches. The new amenities are part of a $10.7 million project that revamped the outdoor recreation complex used by intramural and club sport teams, physical activity classes, students and the general public.
A dedication ceremony at noon today is scheduled to commemorate more than nine months of construction on the space, which is a gift from past, present and future OSU students to their campus and community. In the spring of 2009, OSU students approved a referendum on a 20-year-bond to be repaid by student fees. Starting with the fall 2010 term, students pay $17 a term in fees for this.
The renovation includes outfitting the three multipurpose fields — used for football, soccer, softball and lacrosse — with artificial turf. Unlike grass fields that turned into a mud pit after a rainstorm, the new field’s rubber and sand layers are designed to drain water.
The fields have been in use since the end of winter term, and they passed their inaugural test of play-worthiness during a particularly rainy March that saw at least a trace of rain in Corvallis every day, until the 31st.
“It’s been raining, and there’s still people in the fields, playing soccer,” said Kevin Hopper, a recreational sports operations manager.
In addition to the new playing fields, the complex features a new pavilion with a covered space and rest rooms. Storage, covered bicycle parking outside and energy-efficient lighting were added to the indoor tennis pavilion, located next to the fields. A paved track circles the fields’ perimeter and will be “rubberized” later this spring.
Benches, picnic tables, trash and recycling receptacles, 110 additional bicycle parking hoops, new trees and landscaping also were added. Ornamental fencing keeps flying objects — such as soccer balls — inside the fields and away from passersby.
“We wanted people to enjoy it like it was a park,” said Bill Callender, the associate director for facilities with the recreational sports department.
The project’s goal to create a park-like atmosphere helped install paved sidewalks along Intramural Way and the tennis pavilion, and through the field complex.
Along with the outdoor recreation complex, the project’s funding covered renovation of the 100-year-old McAlexander Fieldhouse. Opened in February, its revamped amenities include updated rest rooms, a new indoor turf and court surface, new basketball hoops, classroom space, along with a stylish, architecturally interesting covered entranceway, landscaping and new bike hoops.
A new state-of-the-art climbing wall at the north end of the fieldhouse is equipped for both roped climbing and ropes-free bouldering. Student and community groups can reserve both spaces through recreational sports’ website, oregonstate.edu/recsports.
The undertaking took nearly more than two years to complete, beginning with the initial ideas to pitching the referendum to students to the construction process. The staff credits rec sports’ student staff as the driving force behind the renovation.
Gail Cole can be reached at 541-758-9510 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.