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Agriculture Fields Get A Makeover

You may have driven down Park Avenue, right before crossing University Drive, and gazed out onto the field of grazing cows, thinking to yourself, “I wish that space could be used for recreational activities.” Well, yearn for the freedom to play a game of pick up soccer no longer, the guys at OPP have made your dreams a reality.

Up to almost 182,000-square-feet of farm field is being overhauled into an expanse of IM fields. The new turf would fulfill the needs of soccer, football and other club sports, with up to 6 separate fields.

Mad about the jocks getting all the cool new upgrades? Don’t think you have time to form picket lines in front of the backhoes. The contractor bid has already been awarded to Leonard S. Fiore, Inc. of Altoona. Construction begins soon and is proposed to be completed as early as August.

Most of the construction involves leveling the fields, laying sod, adding drainage, building fences and putting in lighting for night games. The $2.59 million dollar project is unique in that it is the first major construction project to be entirely funded with Student Activity fees.

However, the really impressive addition is a sidewalk running down the west bound stretch of Park. This is because the university plans on using the new fields for extra parking during home football games.

I’m not saying I’m fully against this appropriation of funds. The field are multi-purpose and were described by OPP as “additional space to meet our recreational needs.” Money also isn’t being taken from anything the state is responsible for–easy Corbett bashers. However, I didn’t realize that our students were lacking in recreational space.

We’re a rural school. There are plenty of places to go toss a ball around. We’re far from being crammed for space. I get that club sports may need a more official spot, but do we need up to 6 new fields?

If this is a cheap way to make up for the HUB lawn being used for construction, I’m not buying. And with the controversy surrounding ticket prices and drinking at tailgates, I’m not sure we’ll need the extra parking.

What do you think? Are the new IM fields something Penn State is in need of? Or could the over $2 million be spent on something better?

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