Construction is expected to begin on 3 UMaine Sports fields on the Orono campus, which include a new softball, field hockey and softball field. According to Ken Ralph, UMaine’s athletic director, the main source of funding for the project came from a $90 million donation from the Harold Alfond Foundation, as well as other additional funds raised by the university. Once the necessary funds were secured, $14 million was approved by the University of Maine System Board of Trustees to begin constructing these new fields for women’s soccer.
The construction of the new UMaine sports grounds is part of a 10-year project, which the university unveiled in February last year. The entire project was estimated at $110 million and aimed to build more than a new stadium for women’s soccer; the project also covered the addition of a new 100,000 square foot indoor athletics track, as well as the expansion and upgrade of existing Orono sports facilities. Joan Ferrini-Mundy, president of UMaine, said the university is committed to building exceptional athletic facilities to support Black Bear athletes and also improve the overall student experience. She also said the university is working hard to promote the initiative supported by the Harold Alfond Foundation.
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The 3 UMaine sports fields are expected to begin construction this spring, as long as the process is not affected by complications resulting from the COVID pandemic. Ralph admitted that supply chain challenges were likely to pose some difficulties and therefore planning is key to the success of this project, especially as construction on all three fields is expected to be carried out simultaneously. . He pointed out that the hockey field would pose the most difficulty among the three fields because it would have to be done during the training period in August and the athletes have no other place to train. But other fields wouldn’t be much of a problem, since football athletes can practice on Mahaney Diamond, and softball is a spring sport.
Construction on the UMaine sports grounds will be managed by WBRC Architects and Crawford Architects
Other additions to UMaine Sports Fields will include artificial grass surfaces for the three fields, new state-of-the-art Musco Sports lighting, fences and bleachers. Construction of the hockey and softball fields will take place at their current locations, while the soccer field location will be next to the Alfond and Morse football field. WBRC Architects / Engineers from Bangor and Missouri Crawford Architects LLC were hired by UMaine to manage this project.
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