KSU Sports & Recreation Park opens with ribbon-cutting ceremony, Open House
Phase I includes state-of-the-art sports fields, Owls Nest training facility.
The new KSU Sports & Recreation Park formally opened its doors today amidst a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a coin toss, exhibitions of rugby, cheer, lacrosse and other club and intramural sports, and Open House tours of the new Owls Nest.
The first phase of the KSU Sports & Recreation Park –– featuring two state-of-the-art synthetic-turf fields and the 16,000-square-foot Owls Nest indoor training facility –– was completed in late September. The new park spreads across a 14-acre parcel, part of 88 acres of new KSU land located east of Interstate 75 recently purchased by the KSU Foundation to be developed into much-needed sports fields and recreational facilities.
"The KSU Sports & Recreation Park will play a major role in the continuing transformation of this university,” said Daniel S. Papp, president of Kennesaw State University. “The two new fields and the Owls Nest are great additions to the university’s infrastructure. Yet, this new park does more than provide much-needed facilities. It enables more KSU students to participate in intramural and club sports. When this project is fully complete, it will take our campus to a whole new level.”
As varsity sports at KSU have reached National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I status, the university’s intramural and club sports also are poised to take off and flourish. In the past three years, the intramural and club program has experienced more than a 30 percent increase in participation.
Kennesaw State’s Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Services Jerome Ratchford said the opening of Phase I of the KSU Sports & Recreation Park “demonstrates KSU's commitment to provide suitable facilities to address the recreation and fitness needs of an expanding student population.”
Prior to completion of Phase I of this project, KSU had only a 1.7-acre field on the main campus for its 22,500 students. Many club teams had to practice in fields as far away as Woodstock and Alpharetta for lack of facilities.
The larger of the two new fields is 80-by-120 yards, which meets regulation requirements for rugby, lacrosse and soccer, while the smaller field can be used for sports such as flag football and ultimate Frisbee.
The new fields’ surface material is one of the newest synthetic turfs on the market, which –– among other features –– can drain up to thousands of gallons of water an hour. When the temperature is high, water cannons also cool the turf by blasting water around the field. Many universities across the nation are looking at KSU’s fields as a model for their own campuses.
Unlike varsity sports, which are governed by the NCAA and are very competitive, intramural and club sports are more accessible to all students. About 2,200 KSU students participate in intramural and club sports –– about six times as many students playing NCAA sports –– and that number is expected to increase dramatically with the new facilities.
Intramural and club sports play an important role in fostering a dynamic campus life and building relationships among students. Basketball and softball are among the most popular intramural sports at KSU; lacrosse and rugby are the most popular club sports.
“We will be able to play teams that may not have given us a chance to play now that we have the facilities. I have the feeling we’re going to have a lot of home games,” said rugby player Marianne Thomas, a junior. “The new field’s got cushioning and springs, the cannons are phenomenal. I am excited.”
Site work and grading for Phase II of the KSU Sports & Recreation Park are already under way. Plans call for a comprehensive recreational complex that would have as many as seven competition fields, 4,683 feet of nature and hiking trails, sand volleyball courts, a proposed multipurpose stadium, and a 12-acre lake.