Bilal Razzak ‘25 (he/him), Staff Writer
On September 9th, amidst the start of student clubs and activities, Davidson announced their plans for a brand new athletic complex. This new stadium will serve as the base of operations for both lacrosse and football programs. Located adjacent to the Carol Grotness Belk Turf Field, the facility will include a new stadium, a fieldhouse featuring a sports performance center, new locker rooms, and a track complex. The current track facility will be renovated to include new locker rooms for the track and cross country teams, along with new facilities to aid student athletes by providing access to improved cardio training and wellness facilities. So far, the plan is to start construction on the new athletic facility in early 2022.
When Chris Clunie ‘06, Davidson’s Director of Athletics, first joined the college in 2018, Davidson ran an assessment of all their athletic facilities, ranging from the indoor swimming pool to the outdoor tennis courts. They quickly realized several things: the stadium is over 100 years old, the gym that houses over 500 athletes is getting too small, and track and field is the only sport unable to host a home meet.
Clunie commented, “Now is the time to invest in new facilities which will have an impact. Not just with football, field hockey, and track and field, but work on something that will impact our entire athletic program and the community at large.”
With such a large project, planning is essential. Once they finished the needs assessment in 2019, the objective was to find the biggest priority. After solidifying their biggest goals, they were able to start raising funds privately. Students can expect the stadium to start construction in early 2022. Clunie stated, “We are hoping to finalize commitments for the project in spring 2022, and hopefully, to break ground in May 2022. It’ll take around 2 years to complete—so call it spring/summer of 2024.”
Winning the Pioneer League Championship in 2020, the football team’s recent success speaks for itself. The team hopes the new field will boost the program’s success to even greater heights. Scott Abell, the Head Football Coach at Davidson, commented on the larger impact of this facility for both the student body and the alumni community at large: “The current stadium is so outdated with video technology and how we livestream our games to our families all over the country… an upgraded facility will allow us better capabilities to livestream the game out to our fans, so that’s one of the biggest things I’m excited about—how it’s going to enhance our fan experience.”
Along with football, the track and field team will benefit greatly from this new facility, as the ability to host meets will greatly enhance the team’s recruiting process. Renny Waldron, the Head of Track at Davidson, commented on this new advantage. “We have a wealth of opportunities to run here: a great trail system, a track that’s in the middle of campus, excellent sports medicine programs; the one weakness has been that we haven’t had an area for the throwers. With a new throwing facility, we believe that it’ll attract a higher level of athlete and give our throwers an experience on par with our other Track and Field athletes,” said Waldron. In this way, the new field will help the team as a whole, as well as fill a gap in the school’s ability to provide equal practice opportunities to all their athletes.
Abell commented on how this new athletic facility will affect the overall student body by creating a space which greatly improves the scholar-athlete experience and improving dynamics within the entire community. “Every step of the project so far has been looked at one way: how can it enhance our entire campus?” said Abell.