Which colleges and universities in northeast Ohio upgraded their athletic facilities in the 2021-22 school year? Which ones have projects planned for 2022-23?
To answer these questions, Crain’s Cleveland recently reached out to area schools. Here is what we found:
Planned for 2022-23: The Zips installed new turf at Infocision Stadium-Summa Field and are renovating space at the Stiles Athletics Field House that the men’s and women’s basketball teams will use as a new practice facility. Akron is also updating the James A. Rhodes Arena basketball court with a new look and plans to renovate its outdoor athletics complex and build a new dry-land facility for the swim and dive program. UA raised $4.7 million for the upgrades, which were announced in February.
Completed in 2021-22: Ashland made $1.2 million in improvements to its ballpark, Tomassi Stadium and Donges Field at the Archer Ballpark complex in the summer of 2021. The updates included new turf for the entire field, a new outfield wall, an expanded AU bullpen, expanded dugouts and more. The Eagles have also built a new 125,000 m². in the fall of 2021. It includes an 80-yard soccer field with end zones, a six-lane 300-meter track, eight 100-meter sprint lanes, batting cages, a conference room, a concession area and more. Finally, AU constructed a turf softball field, Deb Miller Field at the Archer Ballpark Complex, marking the first time the softball team will play on campus.
CASE WESTERN RESERVE
Completed in 2021-22: The CWRU upgraded the plaza area of its baseball diamond, Nobby’s Ballpark, in honor of assistant athletic director Gary Pillar. The new plaza has an arched entrance, new wrought iron fencing and flower beds.
Planned for 2022-23: CWRU is looking to upgrade the wrestling team’s training room with new carpets, wall padding and graphics showcasing former championship teams, wrestlers and varsity athletes. In addition, the school wants to improve the batting cage area at Nobby’s Ballpark with new cages, pitch mounds and a turf area.
STATE OF CLEVELAND
Completed in 2021-22: The Vikings built a new lacrosse locker room and made improvements to the Busbey Natatorium, including 10 new starting blocks. CSU also added branded upgrades to team areas in the physical education building as well as Viking Field for the softball program.
Planned for 2022-23: CSU will install new Daktronics scoreboards for the Wolstein Center gym and the men’s and women’s basketball practice gyms. He also plans to add a state-of-the-art Daktronics video card for Woodling Gym, which serves the wrestling, volleyball, and fencing programs. The Vikings will add new branding for the men’s and women’s basketball team locker rooms and areas, including coaches’ offices, as well as branding enhancements for men’s and women’s fencing. CSU is also planning new batting cages and bullpens for the softball program at Viking Field and lighting upgrades for the Krenzler Bubble, which will benefit multiple programs.
Completed in 2021-22: Hiram unveiled new scoreboards at his baseball field, Fishel Field in Proverbs Park, as well as inside the Price Gymnasium, which houses the basketball, volleyball and wrestling programs. Additionally, the Terriers are completing a renovation of the Alumni Memorial Pool, which includes the interior of the pool, the deck, and some roofing work.
Planned for 2022-23: Hiram is looking to renovate its women’s basketball and women’s volleyball locker rooms in the fall and winter, respectively, and will explore adding grass infields and new press boxes to softball fields (Myrtis E. Herndon Field) and baseball.
Planned for 2022-23: JCU hopes to break ground on a new pavilion in late fall this year or early 2023. The hope is that the pavilion will be completed by fall 2024.
Completed in 2021-22: The football team upgraded their weight room using the money raised from their bowl appearance.
Planned for 2022-23: Kent Softball Stadium will undergo a complete renovation. The grass in the outfield will be replaced with turf, while the infield will benefit from an updated drainage system. Other improvements include: a brown synthetic warning track leading to a new wrap-around fence that will extend to the tank shelters and safety net; a new padded anti-return net; renovated house and visitors’ canoes; improved turf inside the batting cages and both relievers; updated netting for the backstop and batting cages. In addition, the gymnastics practice center will install a new underground foam pit, as well as an appropriate track. The replacement will be a single unit identical to that used in the competition. Both projects began this summer, with the gymnastics facility expected to be completed by the end of the summer and the softball facility expected to be completed by the end of the fall.
Completed in 2021-22: Malone has completed the men’s and women’s soccer field at the new $1.6 million King Field at the on-campus Pioneer Park complex. The turf facility will also serve as the field for the men’s lacrosse program, which will begin play in the spring of 2023.
Completed in 2021-22: Mount Union renamed its football stadium Kehres Stadium after former College Football Hall of Fame quarterback and coach Larry Kehres. Mount also plans to build Larry and Linda Kehres Plaza west of the main entrance at the south end of the stadium, which will honor Larry and his wife. The square will also list former assistant coaches.
Planned for 2022-23: Oberlin is spending $325,000 to resurface the six-lane indoor track at the John W. Heisman Field House. The previous surface dates from 1992, when the facility opened. The project is expected to be completed in August.
Completed in 2021-22: Walsh recently completed the third phase of Larry Staudt Field, which is the Cavaliers’ outdoor football, soccer and lacrosse stadium. The third phase includes 1,000-seat bleachers for the west side of the stadium, as well as the William F. Braucher press box. The western part came after the installation of a new grass pitch in the summer of 2020 and a new video board in the spring of 2021. The fourth and final phase has no timetable, but will include the eastern part of the stadium.
Planned for 2022-23: The Cecchini Center weight room is getting a makeover this summer, with an expanded fitness center and new equipment for Walsh students and teams. The project should be completed in time for the new school year.