If youÂve driven down I-75 lately then youÂve experienced the construction madness that has been going on. Well, in addition to that, the university has been doing some construction projects of its own. Currently, Stuart Field (the big, open recreation field at the bottom of Stuart Hill and behind the RecPlex) is a giant mudpit. Where grass used to sort-of grow now lies at least a football-field-length quantity of dirt. But, why, you ask? The university has decided to install a turf field instead of a grass one. Personally, IÂm not a fan of this decision. I have a soft spot in my heart for the dirt and grass that was the old Stuart Field, having played intramural and pick-up soccer games with my friends on it for the past three years. ThereÂs just something refreshing about playing on a real field, a feeling that turf just canÂt create for me. Not to mention that it is kind of annoying having to walk all the way down the paved hill instead of being able to cut across the field. But, alas, these are sacrifices we must make for progress, no?
IÂm not sure what the field will be used for, whether it be for recreational activities and intramural sports still, or if it will just be a practice facility for the NCAA teams. I canÂt imagine that the university would take away that space, because we no longer have as big of a space in KU field as a result of last summerÂs renovations. So, IÂm going to maintain the idea that it will continue to be for everyoneÂs benefit and is an opportunity to have a usable facility that wonÂt be destroyed in bad weather.
As for construction project number two, the old Frank Z car dealership on the corner of Brown Street and Caldwell is currently being converted into upperclassmen apartments. The site is a big jumble of debris and dirt right now, but according to the project leaders (whom I saw while assisting on a video shoot of their groundbreaking ceremony) the project is expected to be completed in August of 2012 and should house about 450 students.ItÂs amazing how much the university is expanding. I love that it is growing, but I just hope it continues to value the sense of community it has championed up to this point. For now, IÂm trying to keep an open mind about these projects and hoping that theyÂll end up being just two more reasons why I love UD so much.