Lower Soccer Field undergoing significant changes

Unexpected work delays seep into the start of the season


RICK FLORES | The Daily Evergreen

Workers finish up improvements to the WSU soccer field Aug. 9. Renovations were originally expected to be completed well before the start of the season.

JACOB MOORE, Former Evergreen sports editor

Students returning to WSU this fall will notice that the Lower Soccer Field is flaunting a new look.

Construction crews were unable to answer questions about the renovations, but Senior Associate Director of Athletics John Johnson said in late July that the project was originally scheduled to be substantially complete by the start of the season.

While they did not meet that goal, the WSU women’s soccer team was still able to compete on the field during their exhibition game against Colorado State Aug. 9.

RICK FLORES | The Daily Evergreen
Equipment for the soccer field construction as seen along Colorado Street Aug. 9. Crews are still working to finish up phase two of the renovations.

Johnson said that before now, the facility did not meet best practices for intercollegiate play and the minimum requirements the Pac-12 Network has established for broadcasting. The new fan amenities serve to meet NCAA standards.

The first phase of this project was completed in 2014 with numerous new additions, including a field drainage system, turf, field lighting, communications infrastructure and a scoreboard, Johnson said.

However, the project was far from complete.

The WSU Board of Regents approved a $3-million revised project budget for the second round of renovations last fall, after realizing costs for access requirements and foundation construction would be higher than the project’s original $1.6-million budget accounted for.

Like the proposed Indoor Practice Facility, funds for the Lower Soccer Field renovations will not come from bonds. Instead, Johnson said the funds will come from donations designated specifically for facility improvements.

The facility will include permanent seating for spectators, a press box, broadcast locations, restrooms, concessions and competition locker room space, Johnson said.

Todd Shulenberger, head coach for the women’s soccer team, and team members has expressed enthusiasm for the construction he’s seen as well as other members of the soccer team.

Johnson said the spectator seating is especially compelling. WSU averaged over 1,000 fans per women’s soccer game last year. Johnson said WSU’s is one of the most-attended programs in the league, and that additional seating should further stimulate attendance.