Construction on Mercer University’s new $3.2 million recreational sports fields is nearly complete, with plans to open in August.
The complex, which sits on more than 11 acres on Linden Avenue in Macon, will be available for both intramural sports programs and sports clubs to use, said Todd Thomas, director of Recreational Sports and Wellness.
“We’re going to have field space for multiple different sports to be going on at the same time,” Thomas said. “We’ll have up to three flag football fields. We can put three soccer fields out there. We can fit multiple softball, kickball fields throughout the entire complex.
“On top of that, there’s going to be additional room for our sports club programs to use to practice, even when we’re playing intramural sports, which we never had before.”
About 1,500 Mercer students are expected to use the fields annually. Currently, about 1,200 students participate in intramural sports, and about 300 take part in club sports.
“Our intramurals program here at Mercer has always been a very large program that ranks nationally on the participation level for universities of our size,” Thomas said.
Intramural sports used to be played in the area where Five Star Stadium is today. Since the football program restarted in 2013, intramural sports have moved around to several places on campus, he said.
“It’s been tough to try to find one central location that we can call our own, so this is going to be a big, big help to us,” he said.
Meanwhile, sports clubs had to schedule around intramural sports and athletics. The new fields will allow them to have a dedicated space as well.
“This is really, truly going to be a big boon for them,” Thomas said.
Construction on the fields, which are located next to the Macon Dog Park, began about a year ago.
“It’s easy to find, easily accessible, about three blocks from campus. There’s plenty of parking for students to use if they’re coming out there to participate in the program, and obviously, they can take their dog for a walk; it’s right next door,” Thomas said. “So, it’s going to be an awesome facility.”