Two years in the making, the new UVU intramural fields were open for competition on Sept. 17. The debut was met with praise and criticism.
“All the players love the fields,” said intramural coordinator Jen Berrett. “They love playing on the turf; I’ve received a lot of positive feedback.”
There are four 80-yard fields in the new complex, and they are just the beginning of what could become a second UVU campus. New classrooms have already been announced but there have been discussions on expanding the intramural aspect of the Geneva land. Two years ago, UVU announced the acquisition of 100 acres of land where Geneva Steel used to reside, and the final outcome of what will be built on that land is becoming clearer.
“Hopefully we will get more facilities like softball fields and sand volleyball pits,” said Berrett. “It’s been talked about so far, but I know there will be classrooms out there.”
Vince Otoupal, the school’s athletic director was unable to confirm the intramural expansion plans but acknowledged that there are big plans in store for that area.
“First of all the fields are awesome,” said Otoupal. “They will make the UVU campus even better. UVU would love to expand as a community into that space. I think we will all look forward to when that might happen.”
Within the last month, more plans have been announced for the UVU Geneva site. There will be more classrooms as well as residential and commercial areas.
The turf fields may be the nicest intramural fields in the state, but the surroundings have some catching up to do. Currently there are no working bathrooms, running water, or a parking lot. That should all change before the fall flag football season ends in the first week of November.
“We were told by the contractors that the parking lot would be finished by the 24th of September,” said Berrett. “Obviously that’s passed and we are hoping that it will be finished any day now.”
Another complaint some players and students have voiced concerning the new fields is the lack of drinking fountains.
“There is water in the bathroom facility,” said Berrett. “It’s not quite finished but there is access to water.”
Once the complex is complete, water fountains should be added and students will be able to enjoy all of the amenities they expected when the construction of the fields was announced.
Also, the use of the intramural fields will remain specifically designated for intramural sports. Some students have feared that these fields will soon become practice fields for the school’s NCAA teams, but there are no plans to do that. That could change down the road, but it’s currently off the table.
“Right now the fields are only used for intramural and club sports,” said Berrett.
Club teams will use the fields for games and practice, but that won’t interfere with the intramural leagues. Some of the club teams aren’t happy about the move, specifically the rugby teams.
“I hate them,” said rugby club president Jordan Petersen. “Research has shown that turf fields cause more injuries, which I’ve experienced playing rugby on turf fields.
The rugby team doesn’t have a choice and neither do the students. The new fields are here to stay. Many of the students’ frustrations are out of the school’s hands and all aspects of the fields should be finished before the semester ends.
Matthew Baiamonte is a senior at UVU, studying journalism with a sports emphasis. He is originally from Pleasant Grove, Utah. Sports are his passion, especially the Los Angeles Lakers. He plans on becoming a national sports broadcaster when he finished up his degree. Follow him on twitter @baiamontematt, you won’t regret it.