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Central Michigan University unveiled its new $8 million Student Recreation Facility on Sept. 24, and has had to overcome the challenges that come with a brand new building to accommodate those who it was built for.
An investment of this magnitude comes with the expectation that the money is worthwhile and adds pressure for the facility to operate smoothly.
Construction of this project came after CMU administration weighed their options on how to improve the playing conditions for athletes. Rather than installing new turf on the existing facilities, which was also a multi-million dollar project, the new facility was built.
Club teams were just able to begin practicing at the field last week, so the transition from the previous fields had to happen quickly. Since that time, the facility has hosted two games for club sports: men’s lacrosse and men’s soccer.
Opening a new multi-million dollar facility is creates a lot of excitement, especially for the athletes who are able to use the field. University Recreation Programming and Administration Director, Jen Nottingham echoed this statement when talking about some of the challenges with a new building.
“Anytime that you onboard a new facility, everybody wants in,” Nottingham said.
Although the club teams have to compete for times with varsity, scheduling for field time is a relatively easy and pain-free process for club teams, only having to submit a time request form and work around the varsity teams’ game schedules.
Both sides have worked well together to accommodate the needs of everyone and club sports are not charged for any facility that CMU has on campus, which saves a lot of cost for the players on the teams.
Although the transition into the new field has not been perfect, University Recreation’s staff has worked with the student-athletes to make the move as easy as possible.
Some of the problems URec has run into are minor mix-ups like working the automatic light schedule, moving the lacrosse nets, staff members having wrong keys and training club teams’ leaders to treat the field as a facility manager.
“Having to train the team leaders as facility managers has been a challenge at times, but they’ve been very cooperative,” Competitive Sports Associate Director, Scott George said.
The facility’s use is just underway, so there has not been much time for any real problems to arise for either side. Time will tell what happens going forward.
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