On Tuesday, the University of Connecticut announced it would finally begin roof repairs on Gampel Pavilion in mid-May, after the repairs were delayed in early 2016. That got us thinking: what other UConn facilities could really use repairs?
Rachel Schaefer, Campus Correspondent
Baseball and Softball facilities! These are teams that play the first month of their season away because it gets dark (and, to be fair, cold) too early in Connecticut. They need lights. Plus, once they do finally play at home, day games on Fridays and weekdays are impractical and don’t draw as many fans. If the state of the fields isn’t enough, these are also teams that have no indoor facility to fully practice. They try to scrimmage in Shenkman but the facility was built for football and isn’t large enough to simulate an actual baseball/softball game. These teams really benefitted from realignment in the conference and they play competitive games; they need the resources to compete.
Kenneth Beardsley, Campus Correspondent
For the University of Connecticut, a school built on the backs of the basketball programs it is long overdue that Gampel Pavilion gets its share of renovations. The home of the Huskies has been suffering from old age for a while now and it’s long overdue that the facility is patched-up. Specifically the ever-popular and innovative bubble ceiling needs repair as soon as possible. In the years I have been attending games at Gampel the ceiling has been looking worse and worse for the ware, occasionally witnessing ceiling flakes falling off of the interior of the ceiling. Gampel, at this point, is a living landmark for Connecticut and it needs to be treated in such a way. As the Cubs have done to Wrigley Field, UConn should do to Gampel; repair, renovate and reconstruct.
Antonio Salazar, Staff Writer
It is time for a new soccer stadium; the money is there so it has to happen. Unlike other repairs, there is already a portion of the money in place for a stadium or to renovate Joseph Morrone Stadium, after an $8 million donation from former player Tony Rizza. The Goal Patrol has not had its best attendance in the last couple of years, but the fans have been there in the past and a new stadium could bring in a lot more fans. Both the women’s and men’s soccer teams have fine histories and have produced many professional players recently and it is time for an update. The only thing about the stadium that should remain the same is the name.
Stephanie Sheehan, Associate Managing Editor
The first thing you notice about J.O. Christian Field, where the baseball team plays, is there aren’t any lights. The second thing you notice is there’s no concourse. The third thing you notice is there is no press box; it’s a press shack. All of this is to say that the baseball field is in the most desperate need of renovations. The team constantly makes the NCAA Tournament and are very competitive in the conference tournament each year, and the American is no joke when it comes to baseball. The fact that the baseball facility is currently a glorified little league field is just disgraceful for a tournament-caliber team. They need a concourse to attract more fans outside of the usual crowd, an actual press box for the stat keepers and press that’s actually weatherproof, and lights so we can literally get out of the dark ages and start playing some night ball.
Luke Swanson, Campus Correspondent
The next University of Connecticut athletic facility in need of an upgrade is the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum. The Forum will be 20 years old in 2018, and falls well short of Hockey East standards for an on-campus venue. It only seats 2,000 people at capacity, which is less than half of last years’ average attendance of XL Center games. UConn is required to have a suitable on-campus hockey facility by 2019, and I think the best course of action is to renovate the Forum to fit Hockey East standards.
While the atmosphere for hockey games at the XL Center is electric, it’s often too far for students to travel, especially on week nights when many games occur. Having home games on campus would go a long way towards cultivating a rabid hockey fan base among students.
Matthew Kren, Staff Writer
To agree with Antonio, the soccer stadium is the first athletic facility that needs a renovation. Both the men’s and women’s team have had multiple players drafted by both professional leagues as the UConn Men’s team just had two players drafted in the first round of the MLS draft. The Joseph Morrone Stadium needs to be revolutionized as the fan seating is in need of updating and the Goal Patrol section needs to be bigger. For the last couple of seasons, UConn’s soccer attendance has been number two behind Maryland, as the demand for watching is there. The money is also pledged; the UConn donors and higher ups need to step up and follow through on this before it is too late.
Rachel Schaefer is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kenny Beardsley is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Antonio Salazar is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Luke Swanson is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com
Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.