Renovated Pratt Field Marks New Era In Amherst Sports
Issue   |   Wed, 09/11/2013 - 01:01

Amherst College’s Pratt Field renovation project began in the winter of 2012 is set to be completed in the very near future, completing a makeover that will upgrade the fieldhouse, grandstands and track of the third-oldest NCAA football field in the country.

“The ultimate aim of the renovation project is to retain the character and appeal of the 121-year-old Pratt Field complex, while at the same time replacing its outdated components, such as the DeBevoise Fieldhouse,” said Athletics Director Suzanne Coffey according to the Amherst College website. “We anticipate and expect that people will continue to feel that this is the Pratt Field that they know and love.”

In accordance with these goals, Pratt Field and Neuhoff-Lumley Track will retain their names after the renovation while boasting new high quality facilities. The field has already been completed and the football team has been practicing on the all-weather, multi-use artificial turf that will also be used other field sports including lacrosse and rugby. The 8-lane, all-weather track is designed to meet International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) standards, allowing Amherst to host championship level track meets for the first time since 1996.

The project will not only better the competitive conditions for the Lord Jeffs, but also will improve the overall viewing experience for their supporters. The field and track are set two feet below grade at the west end, creating a bowl effect that will make spectators feel as if they are closer to the play.

The new stadium seating holds approximately 1,250 each for the home and the visiting sides. Besides the viewing aspect, a relocation of tailgating areas to the western end of the field will increase the amount of space for fan entertainment. Traffic on game day will also be facilitated with a one-lane access road to the north of the field, with a curb cut off of Orchard Street, allowing service vehicles to stay clear of Route 9.

Finally, the new 15,000-square foot Fieldhouse will accommodate teams including football and field hockey in the fall and track, lacrosse and softball in the spring. With the addition of coaches’ and referees’ locker rooms along with state-of-the-art medical facility, an equipment room and public restrooms, it will benefit pre- and post-game routines for the players. The third floor will contain team video, meeting and alumni gathering rooms will offer views to both Gooding and Pratt Fields.

When the project is finished Pratt Field will become some of the nicest facilities in all of Division III while keeping true to its long-held tradition of bringing fans and athletes closer together.