Chase field soon will gain artificial surface

by Mike Bern | 11/25/97 6:00am

The grass of Chase Field will likely be replaced by artificial turf as early as the spring, a change that will allow Dartmouth to train year-round and to host home playoff games, college officials said Thursday.

The new turf surface will enable athletes to play as early as Feb. 1 each winter, a notable improvement over the grass field that couldn't be used until spring term, Deputy Director of Athletics Bob Ceplikas said.

The construction of a fence to enclose the new fields will allow the College to monitor and charge admission for sporting events, a virtual prerequisite to hosting home playoff games.

The field's present structure has hampered the college's previous attempts to be awarded post-season home games in lacrosse and field hockey.

The College is also proceeding with two other major projects which will adjoin the new field: an indoor tennis facility and an "Amenities Pavilion," which will hold offices, lounges and locker rooms to serve the tennis facility and the new field.

To make room for the facilities, the current football practice fields will be moved near the tower. Director of Facilities Planning Gordon DeWitt says the new fields should be ready by next fall.

Although the College must still gain approval for the plans at a meeting of the local Planning Board, both positive reactions from residents and successful meetings of the zoning board indicate it is unlikely the College will face problems.

Overall opposition to the projects has been minimum, Ceplikas said.

Many members of the community are happy with the structures -- they will provide a "buffer between themselves and the noise created by the non-College sponsored activities at Chase Field," Ceplikas said.

But not everyone is as excited about the new facilities.

Last week, one concerned resident living near the planned project wrote a letter to the editor of the Valley News and pleaded with the College not to build facilities based on "enclosure, barricade and exclusion," she said.

The resident feared the new structures would create an environment of "heavy protection and concealment."