By Maxime Devillaz
Plans to reconstruct Hickox Field, within the last recent years, have been stalled by pending approvals from the Village of Old Brookville’s zoning board. The awaited permits have hindered the process since August 2012, when the university planned to start the project. The zoning board was concerned about the noise parameter and height requirements of the work, but the permit was finally granted in November.
The last renovation of the field was back in 2006, when the LandTek Group of Amityville, N.Y., provided an all-weather, turf field. The press box was also installed, but most of the bleachers stayed the same, and have been so since the original construction in the 1950s, according to the Pioneer website.
A major renovation is expected, including brand new bleacher seating, as well as a new, modern press box with a VIP suite. The project started on Nov. 18, and will be divided into two phases. First, the home side bleachers, as well as the running track, will be demolished before the installment of new utilities. Thereafter, fencing, asphalt and landscaping is going to be shaped. After finishing up phase one, the workers will start right away with the visitor’s side. Finally, the press box will be modernized with, for example, its own VIP suite and a filming area.
Jamie Apicella, associate director of Facilities, is determined that the workers are going to be done before the fall 2014 season starts. “We are looking at the beginning of August until the new face of the field will be ready,” Apicella said.
The Athletics Department started a fundraiser campaign in order to cover the estimated $4 million project, and throughout the wait, they have made an approximate of $2 million, counted last August.
The university has promised to cover the second part, however, the possibility to sell the naming rights have also been discussed, which would LIU Post’s portion of the bill. Apicella revealed his confusion of the costs, but seems comfortable with the school’s calculations. “I am not familiar with the exact amount, although, I can assure you that a good portion of the money comes from fundraised money,” said Apicella.
Student reactions about the costs of the project were diverse. Julia Romell, an undeclared visiting student, was positive about the project, despite the fact that she does not participate on a school athletic team. “Since it has been planned for years now, and fundraised money has been collected, I believe that this seems to be a project worth investing in,” she said.
Jeniel Terrero, sophomore Broadcast major, on the other hand, is not quite sold by the project, as he believes that the money is needed elsewhere. “I don’t think a new stadium is worth spending money on. Instead, I would like to see some changes in, for example, renovating the dorms, or improving the food at Winnick,” Terrero said.
Thomas Bowen, graduate M.B.A. student and soccer athlete from Wales, is not surprised by the diverse opinions that students seem to have regarding the project.
“Someone who is not an athlete will probably find other projects more important, because a new stadium does not really affect them,” he said.
However, Bowen also emphasized the importance of new facilities in order to attract players to the university. “Compared to most other facilities we’ve visited this year with the soccer team, ours is clearly a bit outdated.” He continued, “If we want to improve as a school and attract good athletes, then modern facilities will definitely help.”