Aztec Recreation seeks additional field space for training facilities

Aztec Recreation seeks additional field space for training facilities

by Adam Burkhart

Searching for ways to expand recreational space for students on campus, Aztec Recreation, along with the financial backing of Associated Students, will soon begin studies of the W Lot parking lot and racquetball courts to see if it can add a grass field and strength training facilities.

“Field space on campus is extremely limited, and it primarily affects our sports clubs and intramurals in their ability to have time and space on the fields,” A.S. Executive Director Christina Brown said.

The A.S. Financial Affairs Committee approved a request for $18,995 at its Oct. 7 meeting for the Lot W study.

“It basically covers for structural engineers to come in and look at the space, look at what’s under the space and see how much it would cost for construction of this site…and basically what is the feasibility of this project,” A.S. Vice President of Financial Affairs Mariah Kelly said.

The study is set to begin in the next couple of weeks and will take a few weeks to complete, A.S. Director of Recreation Mark Zakrzewski said in an email.

Zakrzewski said the space would ideally accommodate a regulation-size soccer field.

In his request to the Financial Affairs Committee to appropriate funds for the study, Zakrzewski noted that for a student population of more than 30,000 students only 5.8 acres of recreational field space is available, compared to industry standards of one acre per 1,000 students.

Other problems lack of available field space is the existing space shared by university athletics teams, intramural sports teams and informal recreational users.

W Lot, adjacent to Parking Structure 4, is currently being used during the construction of Storm and Nasatir halls. A.S. and Aztec Recreation plan to complete a study of the site before ongoing construction is completed in spring so they can begin the project before the space is used for parking again.

“If they take the construction gates down and this becomes parking again it’s going to be very hard to move forward with this type of project,” Kelly said.

Parking Services could not be reached for comment before publication.

A.S. also approved a request for $12,064 to investigate the possibility of converting three racquetball courts into strength and conditioning facilities.

A.S. Recreation and Wellness Commission Representative Cassandra Zimmerman said that current demand for strength training facilities is not being met. And available space is often monopolized by sports teams that execute their workouts in large groups, she said.

Aztec Recreation proposed to convert three of the eight existing racquetball courts into strength-training facilities, potentially adding 2,200 square feet of space for sports clubs and fitness classes.

Currently, an average 24 students use the racquetball courts each day, according to the proposal from Aztec Recreation. That demand could be met with the conversion of three courts into strength training facilities.

Once the initial studies are complete, Aztec Recreation and A.S. will have to confer on how they will fund any future projects.


Photo by Jimmy Thibault, Staff Photographer