The dream for a new turf stadium began in the early 2000s. The athletic department saw the need and the facilities planning and construction committee heard the call.
By February 2009, it was off to the drawing board. Along with the grand stadium come many additional amenities. Plans include a lighted grass turf field and 2,000-seat spectator stadium with press box, VIP suite and scoreboard.
Behind the grand stadium will be an identical turf field with seating for 70 to 100 fans. A pavilion will separate the two fields and house support buildings for spectators and athletes.
The project was halted in August 2014 by the Facilities Planning and Construction committee due to financial reasons. However, after rebidding plans are once again moving along.
Coaches and athletes alike are looking forward to the advantages of the new fields. The field hockey, soccer and lacrosse teams will call it their home turf. Practicing on the fields will increase skill and speed and overall enhance the quality of play for the student athletes.
“Working on full practices and transitions that we can’t do in the gym will really improve our game,” says Alexis Pelowski, a junior biology major from West Seneca, N.Y., and member of the women’s lacrosse team.
Coach Jessica Seren of the field hockey team looks to the stadium with high hopes.
“The new stadium will put us in a much better position to win games” Seren says. “Many teams won’t play on our grass field, so we’re on the road more than usual — and we miss out on home-field advantage.”
Along with home games come a larger fan base and greater sense of school pride.
Geneseo is notorious for its cold winters, which take a toll on the athletic seasons. Fields get damaged, resulting in shorter seasons and more expenses moving games to accommodating locations. The turf field and lights will create a bigger window for the season to be played.
“It also can be challenging to recruit qualified student-athletes from high schools that have a turf field in place—there’s no appeal factor,” Seren says.
Athletic Director Michael Mooney agrees the stadium will also provide academic benefits for the school as a whole. Today, athletes are playing on turf from a young age. The switch from the high level of play on turf back to grass is unappealing.
It also has the potential to impact other students’ decisions. When students tour a college, they want to see the athletic facilities.
“It’s a reflection on the athletic department and has the potential to draw in more students who would attend games” Mooney says. “A classroom is a classroom wherever you go. It’s the big ticket items that leave an impression when the tour is over. The stadium will bring great curb appeal.”
The Geneseo logo will even be able to seen from Route 63.
Mooney says the stadium will benefit not only the varsity athletes, but others as well. With varsity teams playing on the turf fields, it opens up gym space and grass fields for intramural sports and club teams.
“This gives everyone an opportunity to participate in a convenient location” Mooney says.
From freshman to juniors, athletes all around are excited for the opportunity to be a part of the new stadium. Claire Johnson, a freshman anthropology major from Akron, N.Y., and field hockey team member says, “The stadium will open up a new level of play.”