College to build new varsity softball field by 2012 season

by Caroline Buck | 11/18/10 11:00pm

With the appointment of new softball head coach Rachel Hanson, the athletic department has set in motion its plans to build a new facility for the varsity softball program by 2012.

The new softball field will be of similar design to the newly-renovated men's baseball compound, Red Rolfe Field, according to a department press release, and the field will be located in the southeast corner of the Chase Field complex.

The field's timetable depends largely on if the necessary permits are obtained on time. Sheehy told the Valley News that he can't give a cost estimate or definitive opening date for the softball field until final plans are completed and various approvals granted.

"The Department of Athletics is excited to bring our softball team's competitive venue back to campus," athletic director Harry Sheehy said in an email to The Dartmouth. "This move will greatly benefit our coaches and student athletes. We look forward to a bright future and a beautiful facility."

The softball field will be slightly smaller than Red Rolfe Field in accordance with NCAA softball regulations and will feature seating for 400 fans, artificial FieldTurf, sunken dugouts and batting cages, among other features.

The proposed construction site recently became available when the WDCR radio tower located on the grounds stopped functioning, according to the release.

"Dartmouth softball's mission to get a new softball field has been ongoing since before I was a member of the team," co-captain Molly Khalil '12 said in an interview. "It wasn't until this summer that the new field was actually a reality."

The biggest problem with the current softball field is that it is located at Sachem Fields, which is over a mile from campus, according to Khalil. Practice and rallying fans to attend games has been a challenge, she said.

"A new field to go along with the College's beautiful varsity training facilities will be a big step forward for Dartmouth softball," Khalil said.

With the construction of the field, Khalil said it is much more likely for Dartmouth to be in contention for an Ivy League Championship.

The new facilities will help the team's recruitment of high school athletes, she added.

Hanson added that the current facilities are no obstacle for success for the current team.

"It puts us on equal or better footing with the other Ivies," Hanson said. "[The new field is] an asset in recruiting, and certainly something that the girls can have a huge sense of pride about. We can do well on the field that we have right now."

Hanson said that since she first stepped foot on campus, there has been a lot of energy surrounding the new project.

"It is an exciting time to be a part of Dartmouth softball and athletics in general," Hanson said. "Harry Sheehy and [College President Jim Yong] Kim are really moving things forward in a positive direction."

Women's softball begins its official preseason this winter and will begin competing this spring.

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