Field House/ Wheeler Tennis Courts
Ithaca College’s athletic facilities in the Hill Center have caused Bomber teams many inconveniences and discomforts. But after $65.5 million of alumni donations and two years of construction, the college’s Athletics and Events Center is finally available for use.
The main building houses Glazer Arena, the largest room in Tompkins County. The track and field team will host home meets there during its indoor season beginning in November.
Junior Matt Confer, who runs in the hurdles event for the men’s track and field team, said before the center was built on campus he and his teammates would have to travel to Barton Hall at Cornell University for night practices that would conflict with classes.
Confer, who tends to get shin splints from running, said the lead-free running surface on the track at Glazer Arena would be easier on his feet and legs.
“There’s enough give to the surface that it’s not going to break your legs,” he said. “Whereas at Cornell, it was like running on concrete in some spots.”
In addition to track, the field house serves as an indoor practice facility for seven other sports. Lines in the center of the track map out indoor surfaces for field hockey, soccer, and lacrosse so teams can practice during inclement weather. The baseball and softball teams can hold infield practice and take batting practices in cages.
Makeshift tennis courts can also be set up in the middle of the track and enclosed by long plastic curtains.
The outdoor courts are equipped with lights and a plexapave surface that is resistant to weathering.
Lights are set up around the 81,000 square foot turf field at Higgins Stadium, which was the first component of the Athletics and Events Center to open.
The field hockey team hosted the first game in the stadium’s history in October 2010, losing 5-2 to Wooster College. The team moved their home games to the stadium this season and played the venue’s first night game Sept. 14, which ended in a 2-1 loss to William Smith College.
Senior forward Heather Kozimor said she was excited to play in a night game on the turf field because the team was taking advantage of the new facility space.
“It was kind of surreal at first because the field seemed brighter than usual, but it has been great to be able to play in a larger venue where more people can attend our games,” she said.
The lacrosse teams also played their home games on the turf field last season. The men’s lacrosse team finished with a record of 6–2 at home and outscored their opponents 93-48, while the women’s team finished with a home record of 4–3.
Senior attack Tom Mongelli said the new field was more open than the windy Upper Terrace Field, where the team had played and practiced.
“The field seemed a lot bigger than when we use to play at home,” he said. “We like to play on the low end of the hill because we can control the ball better.”
The aquatics pavilion is equipped with an eight-lane Olympic-size pool with a 14-foot diving well and a pool deck that ranges 15-20 feet. Half of the pool has a movable floor that can be raised to one inch or lowered to eight feet.
Junior Carly Jones, who competes on the women’s swimming and diving team, said the vast pool deck allows the Bombers to break off and participate in many activities at once.
“You can get more specific with the workouts and have groups of people practicing starts, relay exchanges and distance work and still have space left over,” Jones said.
Jones’ teammate, senior Kelly Murphy, said she was most excited about the new locker rooms for the teams, which opened last Thursday, since the ventilation in their Hill Center locker room was poor.
“People smoked outside the building, so you had this rush of cold air and smoke coming into the locker room,” she said.
The aquatics pavilion also includes a wet classroom where the swimming and diving teams can hold meetings and watch game films.
Head Coach Paula Miller said it was difficult to have effective team meetings prior to meets because of the noise from the men’s team traveling into the stands.
“We would have to have a team meeting in the bleachers with the men swimming behind us, so I would have to scream at the team, and they still could only hear every other word,” she said.