Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Monday, November 19, 2018

Jacobs Complex, home to field hockey and lacrosse, gets a makeover

Field hockey team to start using new field in August

Jacobs Complex, home to field hockey and lacrosse, gets a makeover

The Jacobs Complex in late June 2018.  

Jacobs Complex is getting a makeover this summer.

The field, which hosts field hockey in the fall and women’s lacrosse in the spring, should be open for use in August, field hockey head coach Steve Jennings said.

The new complex will be lined with asphalt, while the old field was lined with stone with a rubber layer laid on top. This change will allow for smoother play and an overall flatter surface, Jennings said.

“We’ve been experiencing challenges in the basing,” Jennings said. “It was really bumpy. We were able to make changes in our playing to adapt to the bumpy parts of the field, but bumpy is bumpy.”

Construction on the project began in May, Jennings said. Planning for the renovation began “many years ago,” senior associate athletic director Josephine Harrington said in an email. University funding for the project was requested during the last two-year budget cycle, and the total project cost will not be finalized until construction ends in early August, Harrington said.

The renovation includes a higher fence around the field for security purposes as well as a net between Jacobs Complex and the beach volleyball court. A dirt infield will be covered up with turf, which will reduce cleanup time and maximize space for camps and clinics to use, Jennings said.

The nearby softball diamond is also part of the renovation, according to Harrington. The field, which used to be dirt, will “also be replaced by the AstroTurf surface for more flexibility with regards to the field usage,” Harrington said.

Turf fields usually have a 10-year lifespan, and the shooting circles – or areas around the goal nets in which players can shoot to score – were especially worn, Jennings said. Jacobs Complex was originally built in 2005, according to the athletic department’s website.

In addition to a new foundation, the new Jacobs Complex will have “pop up cannons,” Jennings said. The new irrigation system will act like sprinklers and water the field through an app. Groundspeople will no longer need to lug out and aim hoses at the field before, after and between playing periods.

An LED Daktronics video board will be erected beside the field as well. This new board will have space for “in-game graphics content” such as advertisements and a “penalty time panel,” according to the athletic department’s website.

NCAA rules do not allow Jennings or his assistant coaches to train field hockey athletes during summer months, and Aug. 8 is Jennings’ first training day for the 2018 season. He said he hopes the new field is ready for his team’s first day of practice.

The team’s first home game, set for Aug. 24 against the University of Richmond, will serve as a “new field season opener,” Jennings said.

“We’re so excited to have a new facility with major upgrades to start a new season,” Jennings said.

kcataudella@theeagleonline.com


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