WILLIAMSTOWN -- A $22 million project to completely revamp William College's Weston Field complex is slated to begin this November, with a majority of the work expected to be done by the end of August 2014.
The renovation project will address facilities for field hockey, football, men's and women's lacrosse, and men's and women's track, all while integrating environmentally sustainable features, Athletic Director Lisa Melendy said.
"We're really trying to be a welcoming space," she said. "We're hoping to bring townspeople, alums and students together in one space."
The renovation was one of two capital projects put on hold by the administration in October 2008 during the global financial crisis. The other, the renovation of Stetson Hall, began in June 2011.
In October, the Board of Trustees voted to proceed with the project, after $15 million for the project was raised by alumni.
Melendy described the existing conditions at the site to be only adequate.
"The existing football field doesn't drain well," she said. "It can get really muddy if we get a lot of heavy rain ... The press box and stands are out of date. They need to be modernized and made [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliant."
Other issues include a lack of locker rooms on site, outdated rest rooms and increased competition for the use of space by various athletic activities, Melendy said. In 1972, the college doubled the amount of sports offered by adding women's sports, she explained, but hasn't added many new facilities.
Project Manager Jason Moran explained part of the project will be moving things around on the site to accomodate the fields and a new track. The existing grandstand and football field will be relocated on the site, he said.
The project includes two new lit fields with artificial turf for football and lacrosse, he said.
"One of the benefits to artificial turf in lieu of natural grass is it's a product you can easily maintain," Moran said. "It doesn't require any watering ... It also provides continuous use. Once the rain hits it, it goes down to its subbase and the field can be used right away."
The project also includes the construction of an athletic support building with space for equipment storage, locker rooms for both home and visiting teams, and event space, Moran said.
Stephanie Boyd, director of the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives, said environmentally sustainable features will be integrated into the project design. The support building will have low-flow fixtures on the showers and toilet facilities, she said. The college is also investigating energy efficient lighting and placing photovoltaic panels on the building.
"We're also encouraging people to walk or bike to the site, rather than drive," Boyd said. "We'll have bike racks up, and some parking spaces reserved for high efficiency vehicles."
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