Student athletes frustrated with Kehoe Field’s potential eight-to-15-year closure have created a petition urging the administration to expedite the rehabilitation process. Kehoe Field’s closure has consequently forced club sports, intramural sports and recreational activities onto one field: Cooper Field.
The administration decided to close Kehoe Field on Feb. 2 because of safety concerns posed by the deterioration of the field. Varsity athletes have not used Kehoe Field in 10 years because of the field’s poor condition.
“There are divots; there are mounds; there are seams that have come apart, and it’s just not very safe up there,” Director of Yates Field House Jim Gilroy said.
Dan Zager (COL ’18), a member of the men’s club Frisbee Team, said he is frustrated at the university’s slow response to repairing Kehoe Field, citing the practical inconvenience it confers on club and intramural sports.
“I think Kehoe is definitely necessary because we have so many club sports on campus and so many intramural sports, and we need more field space. To narrow usable field space down to Cooper Field is a joke for a university of this size,” Zager said.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Todd Olson said the administration has worked hard to make other facilities available to the best of their ability, by opening up evening times of Cooper Field for club sports and intramural teams as well as allowing students to practice on weeknights at Francis Park, located on 22nd and M St NW, and Mitchell Park, located at 1801 23rd St NW, and Sundays at Georgetown Day School. The Intramural Softball program is using Shaw Field for games during the spring semester.
As of press time, no shuttles are being provided to the fields.
“We continue to work actively to identify available nearby recreation facilities where students can have access to practice time,” Olson wrote in an email to The Hoya.
James McGrath (COL ’17), chair of the Advisory Board for Club Sports and who was involved in putting together the petition, said only securing off-campus practice space is not satisfactory.
“We put the petition together because we want the university to hear from student voices that Kehoe cannot sit unused and in disrepair for the next decade. Club athletes, intramural participants and just anyone who wants to be active at Georgetown has a stake in the future of Kehoe,” McGrath said. “We just want the administration to know that although we are working to secure off-campus practice space for our teams, we will not be able to continue the success of club sports at Georgetown with Kehoe closed for the next eight to 15 years.”
The current campus plan, which begins in 2017 and extends until 2037, would entail building a new athletics center where Shaw Field is currently and then tearing down the current Yates building, which would create space for new fields.
According to Vice President for Facilities and Operations Robin Morey, the university is still deciding whether it will repair the current Kehoe Field while awaiting the creation of a new athletics center.
“Over the next year, we are exploring the feasibility of a new Yates vs. the replacement of the Yates roof. This work requires engagement of our planners, engineers, city and community partners to vet program requirements, zoning requirements, economic impacts and mission accommodation” Morey wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Gilroy said he would like to see Kehoe Field repaired while University President John J. DeGioia and the board of directors decide on the next major fundraising project, although he said he thinks it is unlikely the university will spend the necessary money to repair Kehoe in the interim.
“I think the facilities administration feel that it’s not worth it because of the cost,” Gilroy said. “I think that the estimated cost would be between $7.5 and $10 million to fix it, and that would mean just ripping up everything that’s up there, cleaning off the roof, making any repairs that need to be made, and then waterproofing the roof and then putting on the different layers needed to go on for a new synthetic field.”
Students petitioning for a repair to Kehoe Field echoed Gilroy’s sentiment, saying that it is worthwhile and necessary to repair Kehoe Field regardless of whether or not a new recreational center becomes the university’s next major project because the completion of a new facility is so far down the road.
Gilroy said he hopes a petition could make the administration listen.
“I would like to think that if several thousand students made it clear that this is really important to them that maybe somebody in the administration will listen,” Gilroy said.
Olson said the administration is happy to work with the Advisory Board for Club Sports as it seeks a suitable solution for all parties involved.
“I am happy to meet with the Advisory Board for Club Sports to discuss the concerns raised in the petition. I will be reaching out to them very soon,” Olson said.
Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.