New fields renew hope for teams

Graphic courtesy of David Evans and Associates, Inc.
Graphic courtesy of David Evans and Associates, Inc.

Ingrid Rodriguez
Staff Writer

With the West Campus project moving forward, the softball and baseball teams will finally have their own fields to call home.

The project, with a projected completion date of December 2014, will create the West Campus Athletics Complex, with fields up to NCAA standards. It will also include a parking lot.

The West Campus site will be located on Wheeler Avenue south of Arrow Highway, less than a mile away from the main campus.

The city planning commission approved the sight plan for the West Campus project in October.

Drawings and details for the new fields will be sent for review in February and construction will begin in April.

“The opportunity to have home facilities for both programs … It’s going to be a point of engagement, of pride, for our students, faculty and staff,” Athletic Director Julie Kline said.

“When the 2007 Master Plan was adopted, one of the key components was to take large areas of space and move it, creating a new West Campus athletics complex,” Chip West, senior director of central services and capital planning, said.

This new West Campus is something that has been long awaited by the softball and baseball teams.

West said the city of La Verne and ULV have an agreement and will have joint use of the fields for 100 years.

“This field’s going to be ours and during season, we don’t have to share it,” head softball coach Julie Smith said. “We’re excited about the ground breaking of this field.”

The softball team has not had a home field since 1999.

The women have been using Wheeler Park for their practices and home games. Wheeler Park is located on Wheeler Ave. and Arrow Hwy.

“The thousands of players that have come before us and coaches and administrators have made it possible for us to feel like we earned it,” head baseball coach Scott Winterburn said.

The baseball team does not have a home field either and has been practicing at Damien High School since spring.

The softball field will seat 400 people and will have field lights.

The baseball field will not have field lights, but it will seat 500 people.

The fields will also have a surrounding fence.

The facility will also have a multipurpose field.

“We thought we would build fields that the city and (University) would use,” West said.

This field will be available to students who want to participate in intramural sports, the soccer program and city recreation programs.

The final phase of West Campus is other infrastructure upgrades and may include tennis courts.

This phase, however, has not been scheduled

The project will be funded in part by a bond measure, approved in 2010, which also was used for Vista La Verne and Ortmayer Stadium.

The Campus West project will cost $7 million, with some money used to improve surrounding streets

The University will offer shuttle services to take students to and from the fields.

Ingrid Rodriguez can be reached at ingrid.rodriguez@laverne.edu.

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