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Sports complex faces rough road: Timing of construction projects puts the squeeze on athletes, MSS program

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Jason D. Cox
Staff Writer

The University of La Verne plans to build new athletics facilities on its Campus West property, located south of Arrow Highway and west of Wheeler Avenue, no later than Dec. 31, 2013.

As exciting as a new complex may be, the removal of athletic facilities from the main campus means that ULV sports teams are forced to take their activities elsewhere.

Based on their past experiences, some athletics faculty members are already skeptical of the administration’s plans.

“When they said they would renovate the football field, they used generic images of La Verne athletes with no plans and no specifications,” said Paul Alvarez, athletic training and education program director. “What that tells me is that they don’t want to put anything down that they can be held accountable for later.”

With droves of new students joining the University, there are concerns for the entire movement and sports science and athletics departments.

“In theory, I have 500 students I have to get through a Lifelong Fitness class every year, for which I need activity space,” Alvarez said.

Even though the new facilities will include tennis courts and fields for baseball, softball, football and soccer, the two-year wait presents a problem.

Between the increase of new students and decrease in activity space, there is potential for a bottleneck in the number of graduations.

The solution to this problem would be to open new sections for the Lifelong Fitness course; however, with ULV expecting another record-breaking enrollment the solution is not simple.

As construction of housing and parking take first priority, the space left for athletics is quickly shrinking.

Water polo and swimming have already been relocated to the aquatics center at Las Flores Park, north of Eighth Street. Since the softball team lost its field for a parking lot south of the Athletics Pavilion, the team has been moved to the city recreational field at Wheeler Park.

The soccer team, which also used Ben Hines Field, will be moved to Las Flores Park for practices. The team will play Wednesday games at Bonita High School and Saturday games at Damien High School.

The baseball team has no plans on where it will practice or play next season, but administration has sought out several possible locations.

“I hear from the administration that they’re aiming toward being more ‘students first,’ but athletes are students too,” sophomore soccer player Peter Careaga said.

Requiring students to travel off-campus to play or support ULV sports is an inconvenience for all. Disappointing to many current student athletes is the knowledge that the last games they play as seniors will not be on ULV fields.

“Next year I’ll be a senior and my last race won’t be on a track on campus,” junior decathlete Andrew MacKay said.

On April 12, members of the baseball team organized a rally attended by hundreds of students who opposed the destruction of Ben Hines field.

“I was very impressed,” Executive Vice President Phil Hawkey said. “I believe that if students care greatly about something, they should speak up.”

Jason D. Cox can be reached at

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