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Saturday August 29th, 2015 5:22AM

UNG athletics adding turf to all outdoor fields

By staff reports
DAHLONEGA -- The University of North Georgia plans to install turf on sports fields on the Dahlonega Campus, allowing the facilities to be used for both athletics and intramural sports. Examining the feasibility of expanding recreational activities on every UNG campus is part of the university's new strategic plan, completed in April.<br /> <br /> "I am pleased that this upgrade of our athletic facilities will also increase intramural opportunities for our students," said UNG President Bonita Jacobs. "Academic, cultural and recreational activities are all an important part of the college experience, and to our development as a campus community."<br /> <br /> Turf will be installed on the baseball field at Bob Stein Stadium, the softball field at Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium and the UNG Soccer Complex field. All sites are located at the university's sports complex on Barlow Road.<br /> <br /> Work has begun to install turf on the soccer fields and the hope is to have work finished by late August, before the season starts in early September. Baseball and softball seasons don't start until early February, but the work on those fields also will proceed as soon as possible. Upgrading sports facilities specifically is part of the strategic plan outlined by UNG's athletics department's A Vision For Excellence.<br /> <br /> [578]In addition to the turf fields, the UNG Soccer Complex will add a 520 seat aluminum stadium structure. <br /> <br /> "It is an exciting time for University of North Georgia athletics and the transition to FieldTurf outdoor fields is just another example of UNG's commitment to athletics. The project is a continuation of our Vision for Excellence and is a major leap forward for the student-athlete experience as well as the entire campus community," said Lindsay Reeves, UNG's director of athletics. "The fields will create a more visual space that will immediately impact fan experience, provide a first-class resource for the larger community, and most importantly, raise the level of our teams' ability to recruit and compete."<br /> <br /> While the university's NCAA teams will have first dibs on scheduling the fields, adding turf means the facilities will be able to withstand more frequent use. Using the sports complex, which already includes lighting for night events, could allow the Office of Student Affairs to expand recreational offerings and activities for students and adds potential for increased academic use of outdoor facilities.<br /> <br /> Students also soon will have additional recreation space at the site of the university's former dining hall, as the university is leveling and seeding the area for use, Hugh Stephens, president of the Student Government Association - Dahlonega, said in an email sent to students Monday.<br /> <br /> "This will allow more green space for students while giving Rec Sports an extra area to hold games," Stephens said.<br /> <br /> The former dining hall, which was no longer functional for student or administrative purposes, was demolished last year as part of a 2009 campus master plan and subsequent approval by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.<br /> <br /> New space for recreational activities, intramural sports, and sports clubs like men's and women's rugby is expected to alleviate some of the stress on the Gen. William "Lipp" Livsey Drill Field. As one of the only central, open-area locations on the Dahlonega Campus able to host large crowds or sporting activities, the field sustains considerable use.
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