The athletic facilities are in need of repairs and updates in order to better serve the Wilson community.
In 2006, when the current Leading with Confidence fundraising campaign was being created, there were plans to build a new athletics facility.
Lost fundraising opportunities
In the plan submitted to be included in the funding campaign, Athletics Director Lori Frey proposed, "A new recreation, athletic and performance center, with facilities designed for fitness, recreation, academics and support of our NCAA Division III program, while providing a location for various performances." Frey also stated that, "This proposed facility could be constructed for between 12-24 million dollars." The proposal was approved, and it was indicated that it was going to be included when the campaign was launched. However, just before the Leading with Confidence campaign was publicly announced in February 2010, the proposed athletic facilities were removed from the campaign goals, and plans towards a new facility were scrapped.
Outdated facilities impair athletic performance
The current athletic facilities are outdated when compared to other colleges and universities. This doesn’t only hurt the athletes with a lack of adequate facilities, but it also makes a significant impact on visiting recruits – usually a negative one.
Facilities and recruitment
"The facilities do make a difference when recruiting. When I have a recruit who is looking between here and a similar school that has a turf field, the majority of the time the recruit will end up going to the other school," says Athletic Recruiting Coordinator and Head Field Hockey Coach Shelly Novak.
One of the facilities in need of renovation is the Frank E. Gannett Memorial Field House. This facility contains: the Nelson Gymnasium, where home basketball and gymnastics competitions are held and all sports teams practice during inclement weather; the Athletic Training Room, where athletes receive medical treatment; the archery range and bowling alley; and the offices of the Athletic Director, the Athletic Recruiting Coordinator, the Sports Information Director, and the Head Athletic Trainer.
Outgrowing current facilities
"The field house is outdated, and the current program has outgrown it," says Frey.
The athletics department has been expanding, but there are no places in the field house to expand into. As a result, the bowling alley also now serves as both the office of the Athletic Event and Facility Manager Ashley Kisner, and serves as storage for sport uniforms. The locker room also contains the office of Sports Information Director Beth Weixel, and serves as storage for more athletic equipment.
The field house is unable to support the sports teams during inclement weather where the only space available for teams to practice inside is the gymnasium, which can only hold one sport at a time. During the winter sports season, basketball and gymnastics must schedule practices around one another. While the gymnastics team practices in the practice gym located next to Lenfest Commons, the gym is only able to hold three events. In order to practice vault, the team must travel to the field house to practice.
The softball, field hockey, and soccer/lacrosse fields all have severe drainage issues. The drainage systems are so poor or non-existent that after rain, the ground is unsafe and there are many standing puddles on the field.
The fall sports have had many difficulties this season dealing with their flooding fields. In September, both the soccer and field hockey fields flooded severely, forcing both teams to relocate their weekend games to turf fields at Shippensburg University and Mercersburg Academy. The soccer field floods so much that before a set of weekend games in October, the soccer coaches brought a shop vacuum and buckets to the field in order to reduce the size of some of the largest puddles on the field.
When asked about giving a quote for this article, most of the athletics staff declined to comment.