Kutztown University's recreational facilities took a significant step forward March 7, as the KU Council of Trustees voted unanimously to approve renovation of Keystone Field.
Keystone Field, a natural grass surface located behind Keystone Hall on the southeast corner of campus, began hosting varsity athletic events in 1999. It will be renovated to a turf surface in 2019 to serve a larger student population. Keystone Field will be utilized by recreational services, intramurals and club sports, camps and conference services, KU's varsity women's soccer and women's lacrosse programs, and will include a dedicated open recreation time available to all KU students.
"This is a great opportunity for our current and future students," said Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson, KU President. "Keystone Field has served our student-athletes for the past 20 years, but this project will afford our entire student body the ability to use and enjoy this space. This new field will be one of the many marketable areas of our campus and one that can attract prospective students to come to KU."
The $5.2 million renovation will offer greater opportunities for athletes of all levels to engage in sport-related activities, providing a consistent, reliable playing surface for multiple sports. In addition, permanent lights will be installed to increase the availability for student use. Students benefiting from Keystone Field's renovation includes 630 club sports participants, more than 1,000 intramural participants, up to 450 varsity student-athletes, and a student-body of more than 8,000.
Recreational Services will fund the cost of the turf and construction. Student Government approved funding for amenities including permanent bleachers, press box, lights, scoreboard & sound system, and various equipment. The university will fund a permanent restroom facility and additional construction cost and the KU Foundation is seeking naming opportunities for funding ticket booths and additional concourse amenities.
Plans to break ground are set for later this spring, with a completion date set for the start of the fall 2019 semester.
"Our goal is to appeal to the vast majority of our current and prospective student population who would look at our commitment to club sports, intramurals and recreation," said Matt Santos, vice president for university relations and athletics. "This project will also enhance our commitment to NCAA women's athletics and Title IX, and gives our coaches a resource to compete for and attract high-quality students."
The renovation will provide a plethora of new amenities for KU students:
Replacing the natural grass field with artificial turf will significantly increase its availability to the student body. A synthetic turf field recovers quickly after weather, with low maintenance and no need to mow or repaint field markings. Three sets of permanent lines will be installed: soccer, women's lacrosse and men's lacrosse. As part of the overarching goal to serve a larger audience, a turf field can tolerate greater use than a natural grass field and be used during a wider range of weather conditions.
LED Lighting will be installed to allow for extended hours of use. With its proximity to university infrastructure, lights will be designed in a way that will not extend beyond the field.
Permanent Bleacher Seating
Bleacher seating will be permanently installed at Keystone Field, including ADA accessible areas, for a new 539-seat capacity.
An official press box will be built atop bleacher seating for event management personnel.
Concourse & Restroom Facilities
A brand new concourse will give fans and students a prominent entryway to Keystone Field. Restrooms will also be installed, with additional access from O'Pake Fieldhouse to be utilized for other non-sporting events, such as university commencement.
With Keystone Field's upcoming renovation, Kutztown University will be able to accommodate hundreds of hours of scheduled open recreation time - available to all students.