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University at Albany Announces Site of New Athletic Field Complex;
Launches $6 Million Campaign

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 15, 2012) – University at Albany President George Philip today announced the official site of the University’s new $24 million athletic and recreational complex and kicked off a $6 million fundraising campaign to support the project. George Hearst, president of the University at Albany Foundation, announced a $1 million challenge pledge by an anonymous donor to match any contribution up to $1 million between now and Dec. 31, 2012.

“We are very excited to move forward on these long overdue and essential upgrades to our University’s athletic and recreational facilities,” said President Philip, speaking at an afternoon press conference held in the University’s SEFCU Arena. “The University is very appreciative of the tremendous support this project received from our Capital Region Legislative Delegation, led by Senators Neil Breslin, Hugh T. Farley, and Roy McDonald. We are also grateful for the tremendous support we have received from the community. All have made a crucial difference in making this day a reality.”

According to Philip, the project, which has been years in the making, would not have happened without the bi-partisan support of the Capital Region’s three New York State Senators, who each worked diligently to bring this project to fruition.

The renovation of the UAlbany athletic facilities will be accomplished in three phases over the next two years, and is budgeted at $24 million: $18 million from allocated state appropriations targeted for capital improvements and scheduled maintenance projects, and $6 million from private funding.

The groundbreaking for the project is expected to take place in mid-April. The three components include:

  • A new multi-use synthetic turf field for student recreational and intramural use. This component of the project is scheduled for completion in fall 2012.
  • An enhanced football and soccer facility able to accommodate NCAA Division I competitions with capacity for 4,000 permanent seats, 2,000 berm seats and nearly 2,000 temporary bleacher-style seats. This is slated for completion for fall 2013.

football field design
A rendering of the new football field, scheduled to be ready for fall 2013.

  • Repairs and upgrades meeting NCAA Division I standards to the University’s track & field venue. Completion of the track is scheduled for early winter 2013.

University at Albany Foundation President George Hearst remarked, “This momentous occasion demonstrates the importance of public-private partnerships as the means to advance our region’s economy and quality of life. This anonymous gift of $1 million places the University at Albany well on its way to achieving a state-of-the-art multi-sports complex for students, alumni, and the community-at-large.”

New Site for Football, New Turf for Track & Field

The enhanced facilities will be adjacent to the existing athletic football fields and the SEFCU arena on the Uptown Campus. Varsity football will be relocated to a new multi-purpose facility to be located south of the Bubble, east of the SEFCU Arena. A synthetic turf field with new field lighting and fencing (for extended season use) will be constructed east of the tennis courts and south of the Dutch Quad residence hall. The track will be located in its current location. When not in use for competitions, it will be available for community recreational use by high schools and community organizations.

UAlbany’s athletic facilities were constructed in the mid 1960s and have not been materially upgraded since that time. Today, these facilities do not meet current codes and access requirements. The football program is a perennial leader in NCAA Division I-AA football despite playing on the same field it used in 1970 as a club sport. Its track and field team, which has dominated competition in the Division I America East Conference, cannot host an NCAA competition as a result of the University’s track not being NCAA compliant.

UAlbany Vice President and Director of Athletics Lee McElroy said, “This is a tremendous acknowledgment of all that our coaching staffs and athletes have accomplished over the last decade. UAlbany athletes on the Division I level have achieved remarkable results, both on the field and in the classroom. All our students, coaches, alumni and community supporters will now receive the Division I-level playing facilities their dedication merits.”

“This is truly a great day for the University at Albany and the entire Albany area,” said Senator Breslin. “The University’s high performing student-athletes – both on the playing field and in the classroom – have provided local residents with great sporting opportunities over the years, and these new facilities will ensure even broader community support across the region for years to come.”

In addition, Senator Hugh T. Farley, a UAlbany alumnus and emeritus faculty member, worked tirelessly to support the University’s pursuit of the project. “UAlbany athletics are sources of pride both for our region and the school’s many alumni, of which I am one,” he said. “The development of a multi-sports complex will attract even more outstanding student-athletes to our excellent institution.”

Senator McDonald added, “I am always proud to lend my support to this great university. The additional attention these improvements to UAlbany’s recreational and intercollegiate sports facilities will bring to the campus will allow a brighter light to shine on the tremendous academic quality and research excellence that takes place here.”

Representatives from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and the Sports Foundation of the Capital Region also praised the contribution the new UAlbany facilities will make as venues for major area sporting events.

 

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