Construction is set to begin on 3 UMaine Sports Fields at the Orono Campus, which include a new softball, field hockey and softball court. According to Ken Ralph, the UMaine athletic director, the project’s main source of funding came from a $90 million donation from the Harold Alfond Foundation, along with some other additional funds raised by the university. After the necessary funds were acquired, $14 million was approved by the University of Maine System Board of Directors to begin building these new fields for women’s soccer.
The construction of the new UMaine Sports Fields is part of a 10-year project, which the university unveiled in February last year. The entire project was estimated at $110 million and it was meant to build more than just a new stadium for women’s soccer; the project also covered the addition of a new 100,000 square foot indoor track arena, plus expansion and upgrades to the already existing Orono sports facilities. Joan Ferrini-Mundy, the UMaine President, said the university was committed to building outstanding athletic facilities to support the Black Bear athletes and also improve the overall student experience. She also said the university was working hard to promote the initiative supported by the Harold Alfond Foundation.
The 3 UMaine Sports Fields are expected to begin construction this spring, as long as the process remains unaffected by any complications resulting from the COVID pandemic. Ralph admitted that supply chain challenges were likely to pose some difficulties and therefore, planning is key for the success of this project, especially since construction on all three fields would have to be done 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 practice. But the other fields wouldn’t be much of a problem, since the football athletes have the option of practicing on Mahaney Diamond and softball is a spring sport.
Construction on the UMaine Sports Fields to be handled by WBRC Architects and Crawford Architects
Other additions to the UMaine Sports Fields will include artificial grass surfaces for all three fields, new state-of-the-art Musco Sports lights, fencing and bleachers. Construction on the hockey and softball fields will take place at their current locations, while the football field’s location will be next to the Alfond and Morse football Field. WBRC Architects / Engineers from Bangor and the Missouri-based Crawford Architects LLC were contracted by UMaine to handle this project.