Hickox field isn’t the state-of-the-art athletic facility it once was, and the C.W Post alumni and administration are looking to change that.
The University has launched the Pioneer Spirit Campaign, an initiative to raise funds for a new-state-of-the-art stadium to replace the ageing Hickox Field. The new stadium will cost $4.5 million and will feature seating for 4,500 spectators, in addition to providing a brand new press and coaching box.
Demolition of the current stadium will begin in the spring of 2012, after the Pioneer Spirit Campaign secures a $1.5 million principal naming gift for the stadium and an additional $1.5 million in donations. Construction of the new stadium will be completed by the fall of the same year.
The current stadium was renovated in 2006, but Sal Naro, co-chair, of the C.W. Post Pioneer Spirit Campaign, sees it as a liability and embarrassment.
“It’s actually quite dangerous,” Naro said. “It’s been unkempt; it’s very uncomfortable, and it’s rickety and has all kinds of issues.”
Student broadcaster Matt Soldano has spent his entire C.W. Post career covering the Pioneers and traveling with the team. Having seen other school’s facilities, Soldano sees the need for a new stadium.
“I’m a supporter of building a new stadium and improving our facilities here at C.W. Post,” Soldano said. “The field itself is very nice, but, at the same time, the stands, the press box, all of that can be revamped to be on par with other teams we play. Traveling with the team the past two years, I’ve seen different press boxes. I’ve seen different stadiums, and they are more advanced than C.W. Post’s.”
Talk about building a new stadium has been ongoing for some time. According to Naro, it was Athletic Director Bryan Collins who spear-headed the effort for a new stadium.
“(Collins) spoke with me about it, and then I got Pete Gibson to work with me and co-lead the project,” Naro said.
A new stadium is seen as a good thing for not only the athletic department, but also for the whole student body. The stadium will be designed to be able to host C.W. Post commencement, homecoming, and family day. There has also been talk about hosting outdoor concerts at the new facility. Naro even hopes that advertising and commercials could be filmed at the new stadium once it’s built. During the 60’s and 70’s, Hickox Field was used for that exact purpose.
“There’s quite a lot of campus life that can be involved with the stadium,” Naro commented. “It’s certainly not just for football players or lacrosse players and women’s field hockey. It’s way beyond that.”
To date, the Pioneer Spirit Campaign has received over $1 million in pledges, leaving $3.5 million of the $4.5 million cost for the new stadium but the University will cover the remaining amount.
The fact that the University is spending money on a new stadium and not on improving other facets to the campus has some students weary.
“I don’t think the school should be spending money on a new stadium,” said Nick Vento, who was unaware the University even had plans to build a new stadium. “Instead, maybe use it for more parking areas, so its never a fight for a spot.”
Chelsea Lassig was also unaware that there were plans to build a new stadium. “I didn’t know they were planning to build a new stadium,” she said. “And, I don’t think the school should be spending money on this.”
Dr. Paul Forestell, provost of the C.W. Post Campus, believes the cost is necessary and asserts that the University has spent to improve other parts of the C.W. Post Campus.
“With more than 400 student-athletes, who excel not only on the field but in the classroom, we recognized the need to upgrade some of our athletic facilities,” Dr. Forestell said via email. “Over the past year, we have made significant enhancements to the campus, including residence hall renovations, a new gaming and T.V. lounge, new dining facilities, such as Starbucks and the P.O.D., and new labs in radiologic technology, genetic counseling and digital game design. Our goal is to provide and maintain quality academic, residential, recreational and student service facilities.”
Neither students have ever been to a sporting event at Hickox Field and don’t think a new facility would make them want to go.
“I’m not sure if I would be more eager to go just because of a new stadium,” Vento said. “There would have to be some other reason for me to want to go.”
Lassig added, “A new stadium wouldn’t make me attend more sporting events.”
Naro had a direct response to students like Vento and Lassig. “What I would say to them is, unfortunately, they’re probably in a world where they’re running from class to class, maybe running to a job,” He started off saying. “But, they are missing a large part of what a campus environment can be like by not participating in any type of campus events that could take place in the stadium.”