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Campus rec’s plans respond to club sports controversy

Campus Rec. plans to renovate the Snow Center by building a new field.
Savannah N. Miller, Photo Editor

Campus Rec. plans to renovate the Snow Center by building a new field.

Since early last October, club and intramural sports teams have been struggling to find time and space in which they can practice and play. After a combination of parking and tailgating in the midst of a torrential rainstorm during the Notre Dame football game, several of the fields used by intramurals teams were destroyed. This caused many of the teams to virtually lose their seasons, as teams jockeyed for space on available fields, had scheduling conflicts and were unable to practice with proper equipment, leading to less than ideal conditions under which to compete.
During a March 20 Clemson undergraduate student senate meeting, Director of Campus Recreation David Frock gave his thoughts on the loss of field space.
“I think this is the biggest trauma we’ve had, certainly in my time at Clemson, and I want to make sure we talk about how to fix that,” Frock said.
Spaces made available to club sports since the Notre Dame game have been added by Campus Rec, but club sports found these spaces difficult to use, and the available times often made practicing as a unit difficult.
“We really lost the club season in many aspects,” Frock said. “In terms of not having students ready because they couldn’t practice, they couldn’t condition, they just couldn’t get their things together.”
With the year coming to a close, Campus Rec looks forward to next year to provide immediate solutions for the fall while having a long term plan to prevent incidents like this from happening again.
 One part of the plan is centered on the Snow Family Outdoor Fitness and Wellness Center. Housed within this facility is the LoConte Family Field, a set of artificial fields donated by the LoConte family. These fields were not an option in the fall because they weren’t lit and could not hold evening practices. Now the fields are lit and fully functioning.
“When [LoConte] isn’t being used by a club or intramural team … we are working to have staff members out there every hour for open recreation,” Frock said.
Plans to renovate other areas within the Snow facility include replacing the barn and to allow for better class spaces. Students would be able to check out equipment from this new facility and offer training for students who want to go out on the water.
“It serves a lot of purposes which we are really happy about,” Frock said.
Another addition to the plan is a new field to be built within the Snow Center. By adding this field, the project crossed the one million dollar threshold, which means it will need approval from the state before it can be built. The timetable for the completion of this project is roughly two years.
 The upper and lower intramural fields were the ones that received most of the damage and only recently reopened for play. The problem with the upper intramural fields is that  damage to the fields can happen again because of drainage issues that need to be addressed. Campus Rec is proposing a plan to fix the drainage systems.
According to Frock, this field is crucial because it is the largest one available for club and intramural sports and is made of real grass, which allows teams such as rugby to host matches on it. Campus Rec is pushing to have the renovations to this field completed by fall.
To show exactly how much field space was lost after the Notre Dame game, Frock provided comparisons of usable field space before the game and now. Before LoConte was added, there were 11.74 acres of field space available for club and intramural sports (one acre is roughly three quarters of a football field). After LoConte was added in the fall (without lights), there were 14.49 acres. After the Notre Dame game, all that was left was the 2.75 acres of LoConte field, which was unable to be utilized due to a lack of lights.
A project is underway to get some of this acreage back and return to the number of acres that existed prior to the destruction of the fields in October.
A soccer-sized field is being planned along Perimeter Road near Lightsey. The area won’t accommodate club sports that require a larger field, such as rugby. It will be made of real grass and is scheduled for completion by September.
Another large field is being planned to house those sports that need more space. These two fields will become the primary club sports fields to replace the lost ones.
Frock stressed that the Athletic Department has been willing to help.
“Our partners in Athletics have been very gracious, they have worked with us,” Frock said.
Athletics echoed the sentiment.
“We value and appreciate our club sports programs and have worked and continue to work with [C]ampus [Recreation] to provide areas for their events,” Assistant Athletic Director Joe Gailbraith said.
“This is a process,” Frock said. “We will give you the absolute best recreational program services as we can with the resources we have.”

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