OSWEGO — By next spring, renovations and equipment estimated at $2 million will breathe new athletic life into SUNY Oswego’s Golden Romney Field House, until six years ago home to Laker ice hockey and Commencement.
Bids are scheduled to go out this month for a fit and finish rehabilitation of the repurposed military drill hall on south campus, featuring a rubberized-surface track and an artificial-turf infield for tennis, lacrosse, soccer and more.
“I think this will be a tremendous help for us in terms of recruiting quality student-athletes,” said Athletic Director Tim Hale. “This has been a long-held goal, yet I am very aware of the facilities needs of our entire campus.”
Tom Simmonds, associate vice president of facilities, and Tom LaMere, director of facilities design and construction, described the key features of the Clough Harbor & Associates design for Romney:
A dual-surface, multipurpose interior with a four-lane track and an infield roomy enough for four tennis courts, lacrosse and soccer practices and other uses to allow the college’s athletes to escape inclement weather.
State-of-the-art netting to section off the track and the halves of the artificial-turf surface.
New heating and lighting systems.
An accessible restroom and rebuilt storage spaces.
Rebuilt ends and entrances with new translucent windows, new doors and preformed metal skin. The PVC membrane roof is in good shape and will remain for now, Simmonds and LaMere said.
“It’s a really exciting project,” Simmonds said.
And it’s not the only one.
LaMere said his department this month also will submit to the SUNY Construction Fund an estimated $4 million bid package for road and parking improvements throughout campus — about one-third of it for the athletic complex south of State Route 104 — with work scheduled to take place this summer and next.
Hale said the vision for south campus athletic facilities is even more comprehensive, including such projects as an outdoor track, a turf field and redesigned and additional locker rooms in Laker Hall.
“When the time is right and the money is available, we want to be ready to move forward,” Hale said.
While crowds at Romney of more than 1,000 cheered on Laker hockey teams from 1963 to 2006, in the future tennis matches and perhaps small track meets will provide Laker athletes and fans with shelter from wind, rain and snow. Yet with a dearth of large, multipurpose indoor facilities in the county, a modernized Romney should spark instant demand from walkers, runners, tennis players, intramurals, club teams and others.
“I am relatively certain that community groups, once they find out what the facility is like, will ask to use it,” Hale said. “We have to develop a priority list. First and foremost, it’s an athletic training facility for our Division III student-athletes.”
He pointed out that Laker Hall’s Max Ziel Gymnasium and the rink and floor at the Campus Center arena and convocation hall — now the home of ice hockey and Commencement — have found room in their schedules to accommodate some of the demands from campus groups, as well as the general public.