The UCLA Intramural Field will close for four months starting this December, temporarily displacing some intramural and club sports along with open recreation for students.
UCLA Recreation plans to replace the field’s grass with artificial turf to decrease the cost of upkeep, said Rich Mylin, associate director of facility and event operations. The turf will make the space more environmentally friendly, although the change is not welcome for some students.
“I like the feeling of real grass better,” said Matthew Yee, a member of UCLA’s Ultimate Frisbee club team.
Yee, a first-year bioengineering student, runs drills on the field at least three times a week, often diving to the ground for catches.
“Artificial turf gives you terrible burns and scratches when you dive onto the ground for a difficult catch,” Yee said.
The recreation staff plans to have the project take place during the winter, when the field is typically closed because of rain, to minimize the construction’s effect on students, said Mylin. The golf practice facility located on the north end of the field will remain unchanged.
UCLA Recreation closes the current field for about a month four times a year to grow new grass, which costs time and money, Mylin said.
By installing artificial turf, the facilities staff plans to resolve problems tied to the field’s upkeep, such as the cost of watering it and waiting for new grass to grow.
The exact details for the design of the field have yet to be determined. UCLA Recreation could not confirm the brand of artificial turf that will be used for the field or the project’s cost.
UCLA Recreation also could not confirm the source of funding for the construction because the project’s budget has not yet been established.
Student intramural athletes will see definite changes such as decreased practice times during the project’s process, Mylin said.
“We’ll do creative scheduling to give everyone a shot to make sure their practices fit (into the agenda),” Mylin said.
Some students said they think the project is more of an inconvenience than an accommodation.
Steve Yu, a first-year biochemistry student, said although the four-month closure is bothersome, he’s glad UCLA is taking measures toward going green.
“I’ll have to find more time to go to a park during the week to be physically active … but I like that the campus will look greener when (the project) is done,” Yu said.
Mylin said the recreation administrative staff aims to have the details for the field’s reconstruction finalized in spring.