Athletic Facilities Get a New Look
Posted: September 12, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am
By Dave Andrews
A new focus has been placed on improving the athletic facilities across the Fairfax Campus. The following are a few of the notable construction projects currently under way.
The capacity of Mason’s Field House is being pumped up to handle a variety of needs. New designs will significantly expand the building’s size to accommodate more student-athletes, community members and even academic programs.
The project plans will add a total of 26,000 square feet to expand the training and weight rooms and add a brand-new physical therapy clinic. The clinic will be outsourced, allowing the general public, as well as Mason athletes, to receive treatment.
But the Field House will not just be for physical training. It will also incorporate academic training. A portion of the training room will provide athletic training majors an area to practice their curriculum.
“The number of our student-athletes has greatly increased in recent years, and training techniques are constantly evolving,” says Mickey McDade, senior associate athletic director. “These additions will address many of our needs as we continue to improve athletic training facilities for our athletes and academic programs for our students.”
Funding for the design has already been allocated. Once Mason has the funding for the actual construction costs, a construction timeline and completion deadline will be established.
A multiphase renovation is well under way at the Patriot Center, Mason’s 10,000-seat arena.
Noticeable changes were made in the last few months, with the completion of a consolidated ticket office on the west side of the building and numerous improvements to the concourse, such as new ceiling tile, paint, floor coverings and wall graphics.
A significant, but not-so-noticeable portion of the first phase of construction includes major infrastructure upgrades to heating, air conditioning and lighting. Additional restrooms and concessions are also being built. This phase should be completed by early summer 2009.
The Patriot Center concourse is getting a makeover.
“When completed, the renovations will provide a much improved experience for people attending events,” says Barry Geisler, general manager of the Patriot Center. “The Patriot Center hasn’t had any kind of renewal since it was built more than 20 years ago, so I think this is a very wise investment.”
Additional phases have received approval for design, but are awaiting funding. Plans include adding a 20,400-square-foot facility that will house a practice gym and weight room for the intercollegiate basketball teams.
Mason’s outdoor softball complex is transforming into a facility better able to host intercollegiate and professional softball tournaments. The project adds spectator seating, new restrooms, sunken dugouts, bullpens, batting cages, a press box and lights.
The project is due for completion by early December 2008. It will add 200 permanent spectator seats behind home plate, bringing the stadium’s maximum capacity to approximately 1,200. The playing field has been completely renovated and expanded to 225 feet between home plate and the outfield fences.
“The stadium will definitely have a more professional look and feel to it,” says McDade. “We’re excited about the chance to once again host the Washington Glory [Washington, D.C.’s professional women’s softball team] in the upcoming season.”