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St. Bonaventure University will break ground this week on a $2 million renovation to its McGraw-Jennings Athletics fields complex.
Sparked by a lead gift of $1 million from Tom ’80 and Michelle Marra, both the first and second phases of the project will be funded entirely through philanthropic donor support.
The field that is home to the Bonnies’ men’s and women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse teams will be converted to an artificial playing surface, A-Turf Titan, which is manufactured by A-Turf of Cheektowaga, N.Y. Lights will be the other major component of the project. In addition, a concrete step entranceway to the field and new perimeter fencing will be installed.
Construction is scheduled to take approximately three months and is expected to be completed in time for the start of the Bonnies’ soccer seasons in August. St. Bonaventure’s successful men’s and women’s club rugby teams will also play their home competitions on the field starting in the fall.
While work is expected to begin this week, a groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Saturday, June 7, at 3 p.m. during Alumni Reunion.
The project is the first phase of a planned upgrade to the outdoor athletics facilities; fundraising continues for a similar renovation to the softball field, which will cost approximately $1 million.
“This renovation will provide a huge boost to our soccer and women’s lacrosse teams as well as the club teams who will use it,” said St. Bonaventure Director of Athletics Steve Watson. “We will have a safe, reliable field which will be attractive to potential student-athletes. It will be a point of pride for the whole campus. We are grateful to the many donors who have made this possible.”
“This is the first phase,” Watson continued. “The renovation of the softball field is necessary and I am confident that our donors will come forward to make the addition of the softball field follow quickly after the first field project is done."
A-Turf Titan is used by the NFL’s Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium as well as university and high school athletic fields across the country and internationally. It carries a 12-year warranty and includes a sub-surface “shock pad” to improve safety.
Another primary benefit of the turf is its drainage system, which Watson said will eliminate the postponements and cancellations of games due to wet conditions that have plagued the field.
Greenaur Inc. of West Seneca, N.Y., will be the site contractor with assistance from HMH Site and Sports Design of Ithaca and Cannon Design of Grand Island, the project architects.
This project will be the first major upgrade to St. Bonaventure’s outdoor intercollegiate athletics facilities since the baseball field was converted to artificial turf in 2006, which also was funded by a gift from Tom Marra.
Senior A.J. Vitanza reflects on the many opportunities of his academic career at Bona's.
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