New turf inconveniences teams, but not for long

The new artificial turf playing field is under construction and on schedule for completion by Homecoming. Meanwhile, some of the sports teams have had to practice elsewhere.

“It is an absolute inconvenience,” Harry Gutelius, athletics director, said, “but I think the teams are happy.”

The teams have been practicing at Villanova and Rocket Sports, and they will be playing their home games at Valley Forge Military Academy and Christopher Dock High School in Lansdale.

Dan Mouw, sports information director and coach of the women’s soccer team, said that the facilities at Villanova and Rocket Sports are excellent and well worth the small inconvenience of having to drive to them.

“We’re having a much better training camp than last year,” Mouw said, comparing this year’s practices with those of last year’s on Eastern’s bumpy, muddy field.

Molly Carr, junior captain of the women’s soccer team, and senior Shane Rineer, captain of the men’s soccer team, agreed that training on Villanova’s and Rocket Sports’ turf fields would help the teams prepare for the upcoming season on their own turf field.

Carr added that at Villanova “we train really well under the lights at night when it’s cooler.”

The benefits of having the new fields are also well worth the inconvenience of having to travel to practices and play home games.

“This field will be perfect,” Mouw said.

Carr said that the new fields will help to bring Eastern’s sports facilities up to par with those of other schools.

“What we’ll have is a huge area guaranteed not to be muddy,” Gutelius said.

This huge, non-muddy field will not only benefit sports teams, but will also benefit the general student body. Since this field will not get torn up the way the previous field did, students will be able to use the field a lot more for things such as intramurals and special college events.

The original plan was to build the playing field now and wait a year to build the practice field, but Sprint Turf gave Eastern a very generous offer to do both at the same time.

“We’re constructing both fields for no more than we thought we’d pay for one field,” Gutelius said.

The practice field will become the field hockey field, which will not be finished until later in October, after Homecoming. Until the field is finished, the field hockey team will continue to practice and play where they always have, in the outfield of the baseball field.

Gutelius also mentioned that the reason that work is being done now as opposed to earlier in the summer when it would not interfere with the fall sports is due to one thing: money. With construction costs, partnership deals and summer rental contracts, it was cheaper to do things this way.

Summing up his feelings about the entire process, Gutelius borrowed a quote from a Pennsylvania highway construction sign: “Temporary inconvenience. Permanent improvement.”

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