Monday evening’s ceremony to open the newly-renovated intramural field by the REC Center had the congeniality of a neighborhood block party.
Student Government Association (SGA) members went out for passes against Rowan administrators, everyone posed for pictures and President Ali Houshmand gave an impressive punt to a rugby ball.
Rally towels were all around, a drone high above recorded the event and refreshments were served, but not on the artificial turf, as per the rules.
“Just over two years ago, students got together to complain about the [intramural] field,” Houshmand said, speaking before students and admin at the commemoration.
Houshmand explained how the SGA had passed a referendum in November of 2014 to help cover the costs of the renovation, underscoring the determination of the student body to improve their intramural field.
The referendum, which would have raised student tuition, was removed by the Board of Trustees’ own resolution to cover the full cost of the project from general university funds.
This cooperation between SGA and Rowan administrators was the hallmark of the project, said SGA President Daniel Cardona, in his own speech at the event.
“The rubber is edible,” joked Houshmand to the crowd. “It’s even what Donald Trump [eats].”
Dean of Students Richard Jones also shared a few words about the renovations, which include artificial turf, new fencing and new lights.
“A home is not just a building… It’s the front yard and the backyard too. Welcome to your new backyard,” said Jones, to much applause.
When asked about concerns that the field’s renovation impacts the already-limited open space on campus, Houshmand noted that the field had been “mostly useless” during the last half of fall and most of spring, a result of weather conditions that frequently rendered the old field unusable.
For students who have used the renovated field, it was difficult to find objections to the renovation.
“When I heard we had a new field I almost cried,” said sophomore Alice Walker, a member of the women’s rugby team who’s had concussions before from landing on fields that were too compact.
“The fact that [the old field] was bumpy, it was easy to twist an ankle,” said Brianna Robertson, another sophomore on the women’s rugby team.
The new artificial turf, on the other hand, is smooth and flat. Installed by FieldTurf, the turf includes layers of concrete, sand and rubber bits. The rubber bits, which tend to get into cleats and clothing, are expected to settle.
The renovated field has also been given a slight grade, allowing rainwater to run off toward Chestnut Creek. According to Recreation Center Assistant Director of Facilities Brian Calio, the artificial turf is so efficient at draining water that it can withstand up to eight inches of rain per hour before beginning to show signs of flooding, said Recreation Center Assistant Director of Facilities Brian Calio.
The artificial turf is expected to last 10 years, and is under warranty for that same period. FieldTurf, which also installed the artificial turf on Rowan’s West Campus, has already repaired a small sinkhole that developed there.
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