Logan Field is about to undergo a metamorphosis that will greatly improve the space for all who use it. New synthetic turf and lighting are expected to add 1,000 hours of available playing time for intramural athletes. The softball field will be oriented more optimally and complemented by a new concession stand, press box, restrooms and a training room. A new two-lane track will encircle the field and allow the track and field team to practice on campus. The field's perimeter will be enhanced with plantings and welcoming pedestrian access points.
"We have taken great care in designing the perimeter and building architecture to relate to the other campus materials and themes," says Steve De Bruhl, project manager in Facilities. "The new campus edges along Cherry and Jefferson will be a welcoming experience. There will be more lighting and graphics to celebrate our academic and athletic passion, on and off the field."
The Commons recently sat down with Eric Guerra, associate athletic director, and Derek Hottell, director of University Recreation, to learn more about the $6 million renovations, which are expected to be completed in time for fall quarter, and how the new field will provide new benefits not only for the athletically inclined, but also for the entire campus community.
The Commons: Eric, let's start with Seattle University's student-athletes-how will they benefit from a renovated Logan Field?
Eric Guerra: Logan Field has always been a very special place, but (in its current form) it has limitations in terms of playability. For our softball team, this is going to be a light-year improvement. I think they'll have one of the best facilities on the West Coast. And for our track team to be able to practice on campus-we're really thrilled that so many more of our student-athletes will not have to travel off-campus anymore for practice. From a well-being and safety standpoint, it's great, and I think it's going to help improve people's familiarity with our track and field program and get them excited about those students and the work they put in.
Knowing what we know of the layout of the space itself, from the point of arrival to the facility to the amenities to the finishes, I think it's going to be a fantastic experience for our student-athletes, for all of our student body, for our fans and our alumni. It's really going to transform campus life.
The Commons: How about in terms of the recreational side of things, Derek-what benefits can we expect?
Derek Hottell: What the field is going to be is the centerpiece of our residential village. It will also greatly enhance the recreational experiences for all students. I think we're going to see a new level of engagement and energy.
In a way, it's really hard to measure (the impact of the new field) because it essentially offers something we don't currently have. Right now, there isn't really an intramural field. The field we have isn't big enough for our intramural sports, so we have to create modified fields for everything. That's not going to be an issue with the new field. You'll be able to play regulation soccer, regulation rugby, regulation lacrosse. It also means our intramural sports programming will be able to go essentially year-round outside and our sports clubs will be able to play on campus. We'll be able to play at night.
The field will also free up the Astro Gym, which is probably the most heavily booked space on campus in the winter. For the entire winter quarter, the gym is used every day of the week, and it's scheduled every hour from the time we open to the time we close. And that's not necessarily because people want to be there; people have to be there because they can't play outside in the winter. But having lights and better drainage on Logan Field, more people will go there rather than the Astro Gym. So the Astro Gym will be free for other uses. That's huge.
The Commons: Eric, you mentioned the fan experience before. How will the renovations come into play there?
Eric Guerra: I think the best way to answer that is to look at Championship Field and what that facility has done for bringing fans out and improving the quality of going to a game there. We've been nationally recognized by U.S. News & World Report for that venue, and I think this softball facility is going to be built in the same vein. We've talked a lot about (Logan Field) mirroring the structural elements and the architectural feel (at Championship Field). It'll be a great place to watch a game in the springtime.
The Commons: Can you talk about the impacts that the renovation will have on campus life over the next few months while construction is underway?
Eric Guerra: Our softball team will be displaced for one month, but they're very willing and very supportive. Obviously, they're very excited about having this new facility and being able to call it home. So they understand and everyone's been very amenable to working through the challenges. The team will be practicing at a field on Beacon Hill and then we have two locations in the city for the remaining home games.
Derek Hottell: As far as intramural sports go, we just adjusted our schedules to accommodate the fact that we won't have the field. So the one thing you'll see is that we don't have intramural softball this spring, but in its place we're going to have Wiffle ball, outdoor volleyball and kickball on the Union Green, and then we'll play a very brief soccer tournament on Championship Field, which actually will be a nice experience for students. The way I look at it, it's temporary pain for permanent gain.
The Commons: Let's say I have no interest in sports, either as a participant or a spectator-is there anything in it for me with these new renovations?
Eric Guerra: I think it's like the (William F. Eisiminger) Fitness Center. In addition to what it provides functionally, there's a sense of aesthetic pride that I think people are going to feel when they walk up the steps, when they arrive at the space, when they step onto the field-or when you're driving down the road and you look upon it. There's programming and quality of athletic venue, to be sure, but wow, the sense of pride we're going to feel just from the aesthetic feel of this field I think is wonderful for our campus.
Derek Hottell: Picture it-you're in Cherry Street (Market). You're having dinner, and you look out on the field and it's lit up with beautiful green turf, there's no mud, and you have two flag football games going on at the same time, or you have people throwing a Frisbee. It's going to have that collegiate feel that you expect on a campus. Or think about how on sunny days, students hang out on the library lawn. The new Logan Field can be that kind of space-people will go out there to eat lunch or read a book or study or just hang out.
Eric Guerra: And there's a patio area. I think Logan Field is going to be a gathering space, and that's exactly how it's been designed. It's intended to be inviting and welcoming, not just for someone playing in an intramural soccer game but for anyone who wants to go and simply be there.
Derek Hottell: Hang out, have a cup of tea-it will be those things and more for the campus community.