October 15th, 2012

The Campaign at Work: New Balance Field

“Wish I could help, but the field is all booked.”

“I’m sorry but there is only one athletic field at BU and it is booked very heavily. We will not be able to find you the time requested.”

“Unfortunately, there is no weekend field time available for you over the next 2 months.”

Nickerson Field’s managers don’t like to say “no” to students. But as the schedulers of the one general-use field space available to a 23,000- student campus, they do—frequently, as in the above emails to students who were hoping to organize a pick-up soccer game, celebrate a South Asian spring festival, and host a carnival for local elementary school children, respectively.

Making it possible

But thanks to several significant donors, the managers of BU’s athletic and recreational facilities will soon be in a better position to say “yes.” The Boston-based athletic shoe manufacturer New Balance has pledged $3 million to name a new 100,000-square-foot Charles River Campus athletic field, scheduled to open in fall 2013 on a BU-owned site bordered by Babcock, Gardner, Alcorn, and Ashford Streets.

Major donors to the $24 million project include William D. Bloom (CGS’82, SMG’84), a former BU rugby player who made the first philanthropic contribution toward the field; Robert S. Trump (DGE’68, CAS’70); C. Lance Piccolo (SED’62); Lawrence and Judy Cohen (CAS’83); Raymond and Helen Killian (SED’59); Stuart W. Pratt (CAS’69); Bippy Siegal; and Ronald G. Garriques (ENG’86).

Imaginative use of space

New Balance Field will effectively double the University’s space for sports and recreation. The increased capacity will not only help BU meet current demand for field time, but also allow for increased sports offerings, most notably a new varsity men’s lacrosse team. The playing surface will also offer an option for teams playing sports that require a different turf than Nickerson’s—for example, the University’s varsity field hockey team, which hasn’t practiced or played on campus for 11 years. The field, which will replace a surface parking lot (with new parking to be created under its raised surface) and be bordered by tree-lined green spaces, will also beautify a now unattractive and underutilized area of West Campus.

“The new field is a highly imaginative use of precious space in an urban environment,” says Todd Klipp, BU senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary of the Board of Trustees. “New Balance is helping us create a special and much-needed new resource, which will have an enormous impact on athletic and recreational life here—not only for our sports teams, but for the entire BU community.”

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