James Egli soccer field is currently undergoing renovations this fall and are expected to take up the entire 2017-18 soccer season.
The renovations include two separate projects. The first project that is currently underway is set to upgrade the bleachers for the field. SRU Athletic Director Paul Lueken said the renovations to the bleachers is being done to mainly add hand railings and make them more safe.
“The bleachers we had out there needed to be upgraded,” Lueken said. “They were older-style bleachers with no hand railing and things like that.”
Part of the first project is also adding two new handicap spots or ADA parking spaces which will be cut right next to the fence of the field with a paved walk way that will lead right up to the new bleachers. The project has been put off however because of some issue with the state permit, Lueken said.
“There’s been a hold-up on that,” Lueken said. “They asked for some additional information before we could proceed and further, once everything is final approved they will resume work.”
For the second project that currently hasn’t been started yet, Egli field is going to be getting a new press box, which will be made at a separate location, then brought to the school. The one surprising part of the press box is simply what the press box is going to be made of.
“It is made out of shipping containers which is really cool,” Lueken said. “The press box itself is currently being built, they’ll bring it in and set it once its done.”
The new press box will consist of three shipping containers. The lower container will be used for storage, then the second container will be used to raise the third container which will be used for coaches and others, Lueken said. It will be equipped with lighting, windows, a filming area above the top container, and computers which will require a data cable to be ran out to the press box so games can be streamed live for the first time on the field.
Money for the renovation projects are mostly fundraised, Lueken said, along with money coming straight out of the university’s pocket. Alumni donations and fundraisers pave most of the way for the university before they step in.
“The press box project is coming in at over $125,000, and a good portion of that has been fundraised,” Lueken said. “Then the bleacher project is coming into that 80 to $100,000 range.”
A timetable for the renovations is up in the air according to Lueken, but he expects it be done just around the time when the season is over. Some home soccer games are to be played at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium in the mean time while the construction is underway.
“Its probably going to all be done about the time the seasons over unfortunately because of some of the delays with the permitting through the state,” Lueken said. “But its progress you know, we’ve been able to work around it, we’ve been playing more games at the stadium.”
The field itself will remain the same during the renovation period, Lueken said. There is no renovations being done to the field itself, which does have underground irrigation systems that were put in back in 2010.
“Next week both teams want to play on Egli,” Lueken said. “The field itself is in really good shape.”
A restriction to playing at the football stadium Leuken mentioned was the fact that the width of the field is not wide enough for NCAA post season play due to them changing their requirements. It is legal to play games at the football field, but with the new NCAA requirements we can’t play post season there. Egli is wide enough for playoff games, but the football field isn’t.
A lot of other colleges and schools use their football field for multiple sports, and because of the track, it is hard to make the field wide enough to fit the new requirements with the track being there and you can’t change the dimensions of the track, Lueken said.