Intramural fields open for business

The intramural fields improvement project took five months to complete. Photo: TJ Lievonen/University of Miami

By Barbara Gutierrez

The intramural fields improvement project took five months to complete. Photo: TJ Lievonen/University of Miami

Intramural fields open for business

By Barbara Gutierrez
The improvements to the IM fields offer a safer, more efficient field for the University community.

University of Miami engineering student Raden Gustinvil practices on the intramural fields behind the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center at least twice a week for four hours, trying to perfect his moves in the fast-paced sport of ultimate frisbee.

“The fields felt fine when we were practicing,” he said. “Except when it rained, then it got soggy.”

His troubles with the wet fields are no more. After an extensive renovation, the intramural fields where the Frost Band of the Hour practices as well as where sports teams like flag football, soccer and ultimate frisbee play, will reopen on Monday, October 21.

The $5 million dollar improvement, which took five months, should make it a safer place for all who use it, said Jessica Brumley, vice president for Facilities Operations and Planning.

“The previous fields were well past their useful life,” said Brumley. “So in doing this our intent was primarily student safety.”

Among the improvements, crews dug up the entire field and installed an appropriate drainage system that will eliminate the partial flooding that plagued it. The field was also completely graded so that it is level and new grass turf was installed, said Scott Levin, executive director of the Herbert Wellness Center.

“The problems we had in the past whenever we had a heavy downpour seem to have been resolved,” said Levin. He added that the new turf is made to put up with the “high use, high humidity and high heat” that a South Florida open field endures.

Students playing on the fields this week gave them rave reviews.

"The fields were in great shape and it was great to finally be able to use them," said AJ Borinsky, whose flag football team, the Miami Falcons, played on Tuesday night.

Flag football on the intramural fields
Photo: Evan Garcia/University of Miami

“The first difference I noticed when I stepped onto the new IM fields was that there were no patches," said senior Stavros Kalemakis. "You have no idea how frustrating it was to be making a run down the field and trip over a deep patch of soil or making a solid pass in soccer only for the lumps in the ground to send the ball flying in another direction. I’m just genuinely excited to play on these new fields this season and I hope the fields stay in the condition they currently are in.”

Other improvements included equipping all the light poles with LED fixtures, improving lighting and making it more energy efficient, said Brumley. The field was also repositioned, opening up the way for phase two of the new student housing plan that includes construction of Centennial Village, which will replace Stanford and Hecht Residential Colleges by 2024.

“We at the University of Miami are all about providing a holistic experience for our students, including those who play intramural sports and are members of the Frost Band of the Hour,” said Brumley. “Facilities strives to make recreational areas like this safe and enjoyable.”