The newly renovated Clark Field is now reserved for about 10 hours per week for the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams, leaving students unable to use the field during team practice.
Renovations on Clark Field at San Jacinto Boulevard and 21st Street began in July, and the field reopened on Nov. 16 with new turf, space for spectators and restrooms. Donors funded $3 million of the $4 million renovations to Clark Field, and one of the main donors requested that the field become lacrosse’s home venue. Former UT System Board of Regents Chairman H. Scott Caven Jr. made the donation in honor of his late son, according to the RecSports website. Caven’s son died in an automobile accident a week before he planned to start at the University where he hoped to play lacrosse.
Psychology graduate student Michael Buhrmester has used Clark Field to play soccer with friends since he started at the University as an undergraduate. However, since the semester began he has been asked to move to the sidelines about five times in order for the lacrosse team to practice. He said it is more difficult to meet students at the intramural Whitaker Fields, which are located on 51st and Guadalupe streets.
“It doesn’t make sense to me why the lacrosse team should have authority over that space,” Buhrmester said. “It’s not fulfilling the purpose of the field, which is to be a green oasis for students within walking distance.”
Buhrmester said in the evenings the lacrosse team uses half of the field for practice, but the whole field is cleared of other students.
“It doesn’t serve anybody but the lacrosse team for them to practice there nightly,” Burhmester said. “It’s not optimal; it could be fixed.”
UT RecSports associate director Jennifer Speer said most sport clubs have a home venue, and the reservation for the lacrosse teams to use the entire field is for safety reasons. She said the department has tried to schedule lacrosse so that the general student population has access before and after the lacrosse teams’ practices.
“Making sure we honor those donors’ vision is important,” Speer said. “We understand that when we have to clear the field, those students might be disappointed. We recognize that this is the last green space on campus.”
Speer said RecSports tries to keep the IM fields available when Clark is reserved.
Chemistry senior Ellice Tan, president of the women’s lacrosse team, said the turf is an improvement from the Intramural Fields’ grass.
“It’s been really exciting because we really felt more prepared for tournaments,” Tan said. “It really helped our game. It’s kind of emotional because it means that this sport is growing; we’re able to showcase our team on campus.”
Tan said the lacrosse teams will not go back to practicing solely at the IM fields.
“We follow the rules that were given to us,” Tan said. “It is our field, so we get to use it during those times. We’re not trying to step on anyone’s toes.”
Printed on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 as: Clark Field secured for lacrosse teams after renovations