It’s 8:30 p.m. on a Monday night and students can still be seen playing soccer on the newly renovated Hamlin Quad, despite the quickly approaching nightfall. No one would have guessed just five months ago, when the view of the Dolan Center for Science and Technology was obstructed by giant mountains of dirt, that it would ever be open for use this soon.
Thanks to the mild winter, the quad was able to be opened before classes let out for summer break and students are already taking full advantage of the new green space.
“I just love that we have somewhere we can go now to play soccer or ultimate Frisbee. I felt like we never had that before,” said junior Alex Cummings.
Constructed to support and encourage more student athletic activity, the Hamlin Quad was renovated as a part of the Bohannon Project that has been in the works since October of 2010 when a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to recognize Richard Hamlin and his wife, Yvonne, for their long-time support of the University.
The construction of the Hamlin Quad took place in three phases. The first phase took place in the summer of 2010 with the removal of the parking lot that once covered the Hamlin Quad area. Then, in the summer of 2011, phase two was enacted which included sloping the field one to two degrees, adding irrigation and draining systems, laying the new sod and installing a new lighting system.
Phase three is still currently underway and will include enhancements such as benches, signage and water fountains giving it the feel of a full sport complex.
“In addition to being a beautiful space, the Hamlin Quad will bring more activity and life to this part of campus for everyone to enjoy.
Furthermore it represents a major expansion of our recreational and athletic space to better meet student needs,” said Jonathan Smith, vice president and executive assistant to the president.
The quad was designed to give students “much needed space” for student intramural sports as well as varsity and club practices that haven’t been readily available in the past, according to Smith.
Beyond being used for sports, the Hamlin Quad was designed with other uses in mind, such as festivals and other major university functions. With its ability to fit 3,000 seats and 200 round tables, the quad is capable of hosting a wide range of events.
The Dolan Center for Science and Technology was originally designed with the intention of hosting outdoor events, but because the original lawn lacked both drainage and irrigation, it was often unusable following any kind of rainfall.
“This quad has an extensive drainage system under it that permits the lawn to recover more quickly after periods of rain making it more reliable for planning special occasions on campus,” Smith said.
With the new addition of the Hamlin Quad, students no longer need to be members of a varsity team or wear a jersey to have somewhere to go play their favorite sports.