The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

Athletic Facilities See Significant Summer Updates

Theophil Syslo
A laser-guided land leveler prepares the Russell Street soccer field for its new sod in mid-June. (Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

This summer, numerous athletic facilities finally received much-needed upgrades, updates, or complete replacement. While many other facets of Bates such as student living and academic buildings have seen upgrades or new infrastructure, athletics has lagged a bit behind.

However, athletic director Jason Fein and senior associate director of athletics Celine Cunningham were proactive this past summer in revamping Bates’ athletic facilities.

To kick things off, the athletic department installed a new turf field in Underhill Arena in order to have a proper indoor space for sports like lacrosse and soccer. Speaking of soccer, the Russell Street soccer field had new natural grass installed.

Additionally, numerous renovations were completed, including the Alumni Gym lobby and the Bates Squash Center, which is still currently under construction while the court walls are being repaired.

On top of these, Davis Fitness Center got new functional equipment, as well as turf and a new sound system, which all teams who lift in Davis will surely appreciate.

However, the most notable upgrade was long overdue: the renovation of the sports medicine facilities in Merrill and the repurposing of the racquetball court to become the new Sports Medicine Clinic.

Last year the training room was far too small, with only a few tables for the trainers to work with student-athletes on, as well as almost no space for injury rehabilitation.

As a result, athletes were forced into the gym hallway, which is obviously not a sustainable situation.

On the new upgrades to sports medicine, Celine Cunningham confirmed that of all the projects undertaken this summer, this was the most important.

“The existing facilities were not adequate for the 600+ student-athletes and staff…This project doubled the size of the available space, allowed us to get new rehab and therapy equipment, provide sufficient work space and treatment space, and now allows the sports medicine staff to evaluate and treat many more student-athletes.”

The new Sports Medicine Clinic adds significantly more space to the overall sports medicine facilities, as well as additional equipment and technology that makes the entire experience better for student-athletes.

Having used the facilities myself, they really are a massive improvement from the situation last year, which one could argue even discouraged student-athletes from going to see the trainers due to lack of accessibility and inadequate space.

While it’s important to enjoy and utilize the new facilities and upgrades, it is also important to recognize that these would not have been possible without the generosity of the school and the donors who contributed to make everything possible.

Cunningham expressed this same gratitude, also noting that the athletic department was able to accomplish all of their upgrades scheduled for the summer due to both the school and the donors.

While there are no new projects on the schedule for now for the athletic department, Cunningham added, “We expect to identify additional projects that will improve and modernize the existing facilities and programs that support the wellness and recreation opportunities of the campus community. We receive valuable feedback from our varsity and club teams that helps inform this planning.”

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