Drury college students use charges to improve out of doors recreation area on campus

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An outdoor recreation area for generations of Drury University students will look a little different this fall.

Sunderland Field, located in front of Sunderland Hall on the northwestern part of campus, is accessible from Benton Avenue and Drury Lane.

Teams remove the turf on the field to make way for artificial turf.

“The students are excited. It will be a real benefit to them when they return to the school in August to see how it is completed,” said Tijuana Julian, dean of students and executive vice president of student affairs. “We are happy for the students.”

In recent years, the Student Government Association has voted to spend the activity funds it pays on improving the lighting and adding a scoreboard.

Julian said the SGA voted to spend $600,000 in student activity funds, generated from an annual fee, to pay for the artificial turf over a five-year period.

Sunderland is the main recreational area on campus. The work is in line with the master plan for the campus.

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By switching to artificial turf, the field for flag football, soccer and lacrosse games no longer needs to be re-laid frequently.

Julian said the artificial turf is a cost-effective option and is safer as constant use can make the turf uneven.

The field will also serve as a practice ground for the relatively new marching band.

The private liberal arts university shares Harrison Stadium on the southeastern part of campus with Central High School. It has artificial grass.

Construction crews pave Sunderland Field, located in front of Sunderland Hall on the north west part of Drury campus, on Wednesday 15 June 2022.  Drury replaces the grass on the field, replacing it with artificial turf.

Julian said that with high school and university’s busy practice and game schedules, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find time at the stadium for intramural games.

“It’s really difficult for campus recreation to get onto the field other than 11 a.m.,” she said.

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In addition to on-school and practice rooms, the field has long been a gathering place for social events. There are outdoor movie nights, back-to-school fireworks shows, and other events involving students and their families.

“It’s going to be a great place for the campus,” she said.

Claudette Riley is an education reporter for News-Leader. Email news tips to [email protected]