SBU Unveils Strategic Plan For Athletics

[Photo courtesy of department of athletics]

By Ryan Lazo, Co-editor in chief/feature columnist, @RMLazo13

St. Bonaventure University teamed up with the Athletics Department to announce the school’s first-ever comprehensive strategic plan for athletics to position St. Bonaventure to maintain and surpass last season’s success on Monday, Oct. 22.

The five-year plan highlights key areas of need for St. Bonaventure’s Division I athletic teams and aims to reconstruct or renovate 15 different facilities. The idea is to make the fields into one sports complex with separate entrances to each field.

While the biggest draw of the university is its basketball program, the initiative aims to help all of St. Bonaventure’s athletic teams.

“Two years ago, the women’s lacrosse team could not even field a true home game because of the condition of the field,” athletic director Steve Watson said. “Our women’s soccer team and women’s lacrosse share locker rooms.That puts at a serious competitive disadvantage.”

An estimated cost of the plan is $18.8 million to cover the renovations and reconstructions of the numerous facilities. But the first of those projects that is aimed to be completed is the reconstruction of the women’s basketball locker room.

The $300,000 campaign to fund a new locker room was started by University President Sr. Margaret Carney following the team’s Sweet 16 success. To this point, over $100,000 has been raised and it will only proceed once 100 percent of the money is accounted for.

However, Watson is confident that it will be ready.

“We plan to have it ready in the fall of 2013 which means it would be a summer reconstruction,” he said. “I’m confident with the alumni we have that this will get done. No one deserves it more than them.”

Following that is the reconstruction of the soccer and softball fields into a turf fields, much like Fred Handler Park. If put into place, no longer would the men’s and women’s soccer teams have to travel to high school fields to play their home games.

“We want our players to have the true division I experience,” Watson said. “They aren’t getting it by playing at high schools. We have a long way to go.”

But this is not a plan that just benefits the athletes that are part of the student body, but those who attend St. Bonaventure for academic purposes.

To read Ryan Lazo’s column on the plan being a boost to athletics, click here.

Watson said he envisions a time when the multipurpose turf field is used for intramural flag football games under the lights or hosting a rugby match.

It’s the idea that this is not just for the benefit of the athletic department, but it’s also for the students that drives the plan.

St. Bonaventure has never hosted an A-10 Championship on campus, and that could change if the fields are put in place.

“At the end of the day, this is for the students,” Watson said. “Athletics are a part of any university, and it’s our job to make sure it is up to par with the rest of the conference and the NCAA.”

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