New Practice Facility Set for 2017

by James Handal | 1/21/16 6:17pm

A new indoor athletic practice facility will be opening in the fall of 2017. Trustees approved the $20 million project at their fall meeting on Nov. 6 and 7. The new building will be funded by gifts to the College. Construction on the seldom-used grass field adjacent to Boss Tennis Center and Scully-Fahey Field is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2016.

This new facility could give Dartmouth an edge in competition. By increasing training space, the facility will help keep athletes on the 33 varsity sports teams at the College fresh all year. Fall 2015 Ivy League Champions men’s soccer, women’s rugby and men’s football are intensely preparing for next season vying to repeat their victories as other schools’ teams are eyeing the Big Green. Approximately 600 students are vying for time on Leverone Field House during the winter and spring terms.

Currently, Leverone Field House is Dartmouth’s only indoor field space. In the winter, it serves as the practice and competition venue for indoor track and field. With a majority of varsity teams training year-round and intramural and club sports wanting space as well, time in Leverone is in high demand. To increase practice times and space, some teams are forced to go outside to Scully-Fahey Field, which is cleared of snow, despite the cold when Leverone is taken.

The new building will have approximately 56,000 square feet of permanent artificial field turf, athletic director Harry Sheehy said. This field is necessary at Dartmouth due to the inclement weather and snow limiting outdoor play, compared to schools in warmer climates where rival teams can practice outside for the majority of the year.

Sheehy was a driving force behind the facility. He said the goal is to continue expanding practice and competition availability at home for the athletic teams, as well as to continue beating long-time rivals Harvard, Princeton and Yale Universities. “This facility would provide space for the many varsity teams that are currently competing for space on Leverone Field House and will become a major changer for the Dartmouth athletic teams,” Sheehy said. “Athletics and club sports can now get time which otherwise might not happen in Leverone. Dartmouth’s [new] facility is a great step for the university.”

According to Sheehy, the new field house will be the largest free standing athletics building in the league. The facility will also be an attraction to new recruits on visits, serving as evidence of Dartmouth’s dedication to athletics.

“This new facility will give us a great turf and an opportunity for many other teams to practice at reasonable hours and promote physical activity to the overall student body,” College President Phil Hanlon said. “Facilities are really important, and I think it might help us recruit to our teams and to the college while preparing optimally for competition.”

The Big Green lacrosse, baseball, softball, soccer and football teams will use this new field to complete winter workouts and fitness and conditioning sessions. The field will be 85 yards long and 60 yards wide.

Women’s soccer coach Ron Rainey said he was impressed with the school’s ability to create the facility. He said that an organized facility will help students improve everyday in the classroom and on the field.

“Like a lot of other colleges, there are more organized off-season programs in sports, so Leverone is probably overloaded with teams with the amount of teams we have here,” Rainey said. “Having another facility will be great not just for the student athletes with team practices, but when[ever] individuals find time to improve their game.”

This facility will be the largest in the Ivy League and could supplant Leverone as the premier location. While this facility provides the necessary equipment to the Big Green teams, ultimately the coaches and players decide how their season goes.