Mason under Construction: Fairfax Athletic, Recreation Facilities to See Enhancements

Posted: July 7, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Robin Herron

Editor’s note: This is the first article in a series about George Mason’s long-term facilities and construction plans.

Everybody wins with the plans on the drawing board for athletic and recreational facilities at George Mason’s Fairfax Campus. Student-athletes will get new a new venue for volleyball and wrestling; recreational athletes will get expanded fitness areas; and the public will be treated to enhanced spectator facilities.

volley add
An artist’s rendition of the future volleyball and wrestling venue at the Field House.

And that’s only the beginning. “It’s quite an aggressive plan for us,” says Mickey McDade, operations, facilities, and administration senior associate athletic director. The 10-year plan for sports and recreation at Mason will cost $78 million when fully funded. To date, $15 million is in hand, and several projects are moving steadily ahead.

This fall, artificial turf and lighting will be installed on Robinson Field, which is near the Physical Education Building, for club and intramural sports. On the west campus, six new tennis courts are being installed. Two other major projects are in the design phase. One is a $7 million, 8,000-square-foot addition to the Aquatic and Fitness Center that will bring a two-story fitness area to the facility, allowing the current fitness area to be used for group exercise activities. The project is scheduled for completion next year.

The following year, a $10 million renovation of the Patriot Center, which opened in 1985, is expected to be completed. Construction will update the building, bringing its concessions areas into the 21st century and moving its hospitality room to an upper floor with a view of the arena. Renovations will also involve moving the main entrance and ticket window to the west side of the building, where there is a convenient driveway to the entrance. Men’s and women’s basketball offices will move to the third floor, overlooking the lobby.

patriot center
An artist’s rendition of the Patriot Center renovations.

On the west side of campus, come fall 2007, planned changes to the Field House include the addition of a 2,500-seat volleyball and wrestling venue.

Other plans for the Fairfax Campus that are on the books but not yet funded include a practice gym and academic support center at the Patriot Center, and an outdoor pool at the Aquatic and Fitness Center. When the Housing VII project in the northeast sector is built in 2007, there are plans to include an informal indoor weight training and fitness area and an outdoor recreation area behind Physical Plant. The Physical Education Building is scheduled to improve with new gym space, racquetball courts, an aerobics studio, and tennis courts for club sports and intramurals in 2009.

Long-term plans for the west side of campus include a new indoor practice facility with artificial turf and renovations to the George Mason Stadium, Spuhler Field baseball stadium, and Softball Complex. A proposed overpass crossing Route 123 will facilitate travel between the east and west sides of campus.

McDade said the main source of income for athletic and recreational facilities is student fees, although major fund-raising and revenue-generating activities will be required to make some of these projects become reality.

For all campus construction plans and updates, check the web site.

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