On-campus sports complex opens for play
The UALR soccer team won’t have to carpool to Burns Park in North Little Rock for practices or games anymore. On Wednesday Aug. 1, the UALR soccer team began practicing on their brand-new outdoor Recreation and Sports Complex. Located right behind University Village Apartments, the new complex is just a short walk to campus.
The complex features an eight-lane track with top of the line Polytan synthetic surfacing, sites for long jump, high jump, pole vault, shot put, discus, hammer, and javelin competitions. The complex also holds two intramural fields that can be used for softball. In addition, there is a grandstand that seat 300, a media press box, and 130 parking spaces for eager fans to park.
The entire complex is a $5 million project that was part of a 2009 bond issue approved by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. The land once was the site of the Coleman family’ dairy, but the sons of Walter C. “Buddy” Coleman gave the land to the university, allowing the complex to be constructed.
Holly Holland, a junior forward couldn’t be more excited about the new complex.
“The biggest perk about the new field is how close it is to campus,” Holland said. “We used to have to drive 20 minutes to Burns, practice, then drive 20 minutes back.”
Because the new complex is on-campus, it allows student-athletes to practice as early and as late as they want and they have their first, very own “home field.”
Assistant soccer coach Chris McNaughto sees the complex as an opportunity to improve the program.
“Anytime you can take a recruit and their parents to an on-campus facility, it’s only going give you positive results and better players,” McNaughto said. “Having the new complex means we are going to get a lot more support and generate a little more excitement for the program.”
“The best part about the facility is the fact that it is here on campus and it is ours,” McNaughto added.
The addition of the complex should build a better group experience, encourage more involvement in UALR activities, and establish new traditions.
According the Athletic Director Chris Peterson, Little Rock was the only city without an all-purpose and all-weather facility.
Now, UALR and Little Rock can host events, such as track, that they couldn’t before and begin to gain more popularity for the university.