A new addition to UT recreation will include an outdoor playground for students and staff to exercise on and a field for them to enjoy UT lacrosse matches.
Clark Field, which has been under renovations led by the Division of Recreational Sports since July, will open to the public on Wednesday, redubbed the Caven Lacrosse and Sports Center at Clark Field. A grand opening and dedication will be held on site, featuring President William Powers Jr. and UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, Friday at 3 p.m.
The field will now feature synthetic turf for play, a refurbished track, a concentrated exercise station and a multipurpose building including restrooms, said Jennifer Speer, associate director of the Division of Recreational Sports. The renovations also include improved security lighting, a new bridge over Waller Creek and a lightning prediction system.
“We are here for students and want to make sure they have access to high quality facilities,” Speer said. “It’s one of the last green spaces on campus and was once a very popular spot for joggers and Frisbee. We hope that comes back.”
The renovated Clark Field will also serve as home to UT’s lacrosse teams, who will move from Whitaker Fields more than a mile away. Both president of the men’s team Scott Marmillion and president of the women’s team Ellice Tan said they hope the new location will encourage students to attend more games.
“I see the Caven Lacrosse and Sports Center at Clark Field as a catalyst for the growth of our sport, not just within our university but within the nation,” Tan said. “We cannot express enough gratitude for all the behind-the-scenes work that produced the Caven Lacrosse and Sports Center at Clark Field.”
Government freshman Marcos Vento, who lives in San Jacinto Dormitory next to the field, said he lived on campus in the summer and remembers the field being packed with activity before the renovations began. He said while it will be like a backyard for San Jacinto residents, he hopes people far off will come over to enjoy the field.
“I remember it was old, definitely in need of renovation,” Vento said. “It’s going to be a bonus living in San Jac now, but I think it’s going to draw in a lot of students. I mean, if you’re coming here, you’re planning on staying a couple of hours.”
Marketing sophomore Guadalupe Garcia, who competes in ultimate Frisbee and has lived in Moore-Hill Dormitory for two years, said he practiced by the six pack and at the LBJ field once a week during construction and is glad he can make more visits to the field again now that it is complete.
“The field was very sandy before — I even rolled my ankle on it once,” Garcia said. “Now that it’s renovated, I hope for great things in the future. I am very pumped.”