It's been a long cry for help from the Lower Soccer Field and the WSU women's soccer team for some much needed renovations to the turf next to Regents and Scott-Coman. Finally, it looks like everyone will get their wish as WSU will be taking bids for the project this month before the scheduled start to renovations in November.
Facilities were part of the reason Matt Potter went east to Oklahoma after coaching the team back into multiple NCAA Tournament trips. It might have been the wake up call the athletic department needed which stinks but at least they got it. So of all the Lower Soccer Field's needed improvements, what's getting fixed with this renovation?
-Lights: check. A lack of lights were part of the reason the NCAA balked at allowing WSU to host tournament games in the past. The ability to play later in the evening will also help reduce classes that might need to be missed for players on Friday afternoon; a minor concern but a concern nonetheless.
-Improved drainage: check. That's a big, BIG check. I was the public address announcer for the team for three years and the benches regularly had mud behind them even with almost a week of no rain. Getting water off the field more efficiently can also help improve the state of the turf. The field is in the pretty unique position of sitting lower than most of the north end of campus so drainage is naturally going to be an issue but hopefully this will improve it.
-Electrical improvements: check. With more visits from the Pac-12 Network coming in the future, the electric infrastructure has got to get better meaning, basically, there needs to be a lot more than their is now which is almost zilch. The proposal indicates they want wiring laid for future needs as well and although I'm not sure exactly what that entails, at least they're planning for it.
-Better team facilities: negative. This is a big point of contention for me. Up until a couple of seasons ago, teams got tents on the end of the old freight containers they use to store equipment for half time. Last time I attended a game two years ago, they'd upgraded to temporary construction trailers. I'd really like to see something built on the west end of the field. It doesn't have to be a full locker room, just a half time meeting area with restrooms for the players.
We don't have a final cost yet and likely won't know it until the final bid is selected so I won't guess at a number. It's not getting everything I might like it to but the Lower Soccer Field should still be getting many of the needed improvements in time for the 2014 season. Hopefully it can help attract even more talented players and cement WSU's place in the upper echelon of the toughest women's soccer conference in the country.