By Kaylee Lindenmuth
A multi-million dollar renovation of Keystone Field is expected to wrap up in time for Saturday, Sept. 14’s women’s soccer opener against East Stroudsburg.
According to KU Communications Director Bryan Salvadore, the bulk of the project was expected to wrap up at the end of August, though “some work and final inspections will persist through the week of Sept. 9,” he said in an email on August 27.
“The field may not be used until we receive a final occupancy inspection and an occupancy permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry,” Salvadore said in the email. “It is our goal to have all of this completed and the field ready for use by the first home women’s soccer game on Sept. 14.”
The project was first outlined at a Student Government Board meeting on Feb. 5, in which the board allocated $1.3 million in student funds towards the project. A presentation by President Kenneth Hawkinson, Vice President of Administration and Finance Gerald Silberman, Vice President of Communications, Marketing and External Affairs Matt Santos, and Assistant Vice President of Recreational Services and Athletic Resources Amy Sandt outlined the upgrades and cost of the project.
At that time, the project was set to cost a total of $5,263,476, paid for through funding from Rec Center funding ($2,482,522), Activity Fee funding ($1,287,440), the Education and General fund ($993,093) and the KU Foundation ($500,421). Over the summer, a turf field, bleachers, press box, scoreboard, sound system and LED lighting system were installed among other items.
At the time, Santos said, “Because it’s a grass field, we’ve had a lot of battles with it. It doesn’t hold up well. In the summers where we haven’t had a lot of rain, it has been very dry. It’s caused safety issues.”
KU President Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson spoke about the field in his State of the University address on Aug. 23, where he said the project’s cost was $4.5 Million. A request for clarification on the project cost was not immediately returned.
“The new field and lights will provide additional space to accommodate student use for intramural sports. It will also be the home game venue for women’s soccer, women’s lacrosse and many club sports,” Hawkinson said. “The project has been funded through student fees, and I am grateful to Braden Hudak, SGB president and other student leaders for their support of this important project.”
“Funded from our central budget, we will finally have bathroom facilities to serve those using the new field, as well as those who attend special events at the field house, such as commencement and recruiting events,” Hawkinson added.