The University of Scranton announced plans to invest $14 million to upgrade athletic fields and facilities known as the South Side Sports Complex, which is owned by the University. Plans include NCAA regulation baseball and softball fields and a multipurpose field that meets NCAA standards for soccer, lacrosse and field hockey. Plans also include a community basketball court, a children's play area, field house, bleacher seating and parking.
"The fields we develop at this athletic campus will help the University meet a critical need for our students and athletic teams and will give the community an outstanding resource for recreation, league play and economic redevelopment," said University of Scranton President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., who noted the University has already raised more than $8 million in philanthropic support for this project.
The development of this site will not only improve the competitiveness of the University's intercollegiate play for student-athletes, this project will also have a major community impact by providing recreational facilities, beautifying the neighborhood and complementing ongoing revitalization efforts in South Scranton. The Lackawanna River Heritage Trail runs adjacent to the property. In addition to creating short-term jobs for the construction of the site, the South Side Athletics Campus will allow the University to host NCAA as well as PIAA tournaments that will draw visitors to Scranton and Lackawanna County from a larger geographical area. These visitors will utilize hotel, dining and shopping amenities, spurring increased economic activity in the Greater Scranton Area.
The 11-acre athletic complex located along Broadway Street in Scranton will help the University to address long-standing needs for additional space for athletics, intramural and recreational sports.
"With only one field, we are simply not able to keep pace with the demands of our athletics teams, intramural and recreational sports," said Robert W. Davis Jr., Ed.D., chief of staff at the University. "Our only intercollegiate field, Fitzpatrick Field, is used by five Division III intercollegiate athletic teams, multiple intramural sports and club teams. We just have too much student demand for one playing field."
The University's men's and women's soccer and lacrosse teams currently play and practice at Fitzpatrick field, as does the women's field hockey team. The University's baseball team plays at Connell Park in Scranton and the softball team plays at Jessup Youth Sports Complex in Jessup.
The South Side Athletics Campus includes a 75- by 120-yard, synthetic-turf, multi-purpose field with 776 bleacher seats, field lighting and a press box. The field can accommodate soccer, filed hockey and lacrosse. The plan also includes a synthetic-turf baseball field with more than 400 bleacher seats, home and away bullpens and two batting cages; and a synthetic-turf softball field with more than 200 bleacher seats, home and away bullpens and a batting cage.
"The new facilities will dramatically improve the quality of life for each and every student on our campus," said David L. Martin, director of Athletics at the University. "As it relates specifically to athletics, the South Side Athletics Campus is a huge step forward in us being able to provide our student-athletes with a first-rate, quality experience."
In addition, The University of Scranton will construct a children's playground area and community basketball court at the South Side Athletics Campus, as well as a 4,000-square-foot field house with two team locker rooms and a training room. The plan accommodates parking for nearly 90 cars.
The University collaborated with landscape architects Derck and Edson, Lititz, to design the project.
The University acquired the South Side Sports Complex in 2003 from the Scranton Redevelopment Authority. In the acquisition of the property, the University agreed to maintain public access to the complex to ensure that it would help to meet an important University priority, while remaining a community asset and resource.
Pending approval by the zoning board, construction is planned to begin in the spring of 2017, with completion anticipated in the fall of 2017.