A new turf field is coming to Nipissing University.

Construction on the $2.1-million field will begin this summer and be completed this fall, replacing the existing soccer pitch next to the Robert J. Surtees Athletic Centre.

It will measure 64m x 100m and is designed in accordance with FIFA standards.

Officials say having the new field will mean teams can play in virtually any weather, except electrical storms.

They also say it will provide for a much-improved home for varsity soccer and lacrosse and will also be available for youth sports, adult leagues and can attract provincial championships.

“This is all about enhancing the experience for our students and providing opportunities for our community,” said Dr. Mike DeGagné, president and vice-chancellor. “The new field will benefit the many students who utilize it for classes and intramural sports. It will also be an advantage for researchers in the Bachelor of Physical and Health Education program and will be a much-improved home for varsity soccer and lacrosse teams and fans. It will be also be available for youth sports, and adult leagues and can attract provincial championships.”

“A significant portion of my research is conducted in the field examining coach-athlete and athlete-athlete interactions in youth sports,” said Dr. Mark Bruner, Canada Research Chair in Youth Development through Sports and Physical Activity. “The turf field will attract more youth teams to campus and will provide a fantastic and convenient location for my work looking into team dynamics and how to create positive developmental sport environments for youth.”

“It was difficult for our varsity teams and their fans to be forced to play across town on a regular basis. They really didn’t have many true home games,” said Vito Castiglione, athletics director. “We’re really excited for our student-athletes in soccer and lacrosse to be able to play on campus in front of more cheering students and fans.”

Having this new field on campus will make it easier for students to come together to build and celebrate school spirit,” said Sydney Lamorea, president of the Nipissing University Student Union. “This will allow us to demonstrate Laker pride not only in varsity athletics but intramural sports and community events.”

The university says they’ll realize significant savings on annual maintenance costs with the new turf field.

Estimates put annual maintenance on the new field at about $7,000.

Right now the cost is $15,000 to $20,000 for annual maintenance of the existing field.

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