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college sports park with soccer/football stadium

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College plans for sports fields

12-15-03

By John Newsom Staff Writer

News & Record

Greensboro College might build a stadium for its football and soccer teams on a 30-acre piece of property on the boundaries of downtown Greensboro.

A college task force will spend the next four months trying to figure out exactly what the school should do with its latest purchase, which college officials are calling "The Greensboro College Sports Park." The college took possession of the J.C. Price Complex on Dec. 1.

"Although we think we know what we want on the 30 acres, I certainly don't know about the topography" of the site, Greensboro College President Craven Williams said.

What the college does know is that the sports park will be home to its outdoor sports teams, which play and practice throughout the city.

Greensboro College has leased the fields surrounding the former Price School for the past five years. That's where the men's and women's soccer and lacrosse team and the football squad have held practices.

But the soccer and lacrosse teams are the only outdoor squads that play their home games at landlocked Greensboro College. More than a third of the college's 1,300 students play on one of 16 sports teams, and the college has just one athletic field on its main campus.

The football team plays at Grimsley High School's Jamieson Stadium. The baseball team practices at either Grimsley or Western high schools and plays its home games at War Memorial Stadium. The tennis teams play and practice at Greensboro Day School, while the softball team has set up shop on a field it built at a Boys and Girls Club south of UNCG.

The new site will have room for permanent practice and game fields for all those sports -- except perhaps soccer and football. The two teams can share a stadium, but the college does not yet know if the site has enough room for practice fields, tennis courts, baseball and softball fields and a football-soccer facility that could seat 3,000 or more Pride fans.

Athletics Director Kim Strable will lead the task force, which will work with a consultant to determine what can be built and how much it will cost. The task force report is due in late April, just before the college trustees hold their spring meeting.

The college committee will also decide what to do with the buildings on the site. GTCC, the site's previous owner, will lease its current space for the next two years until it opens its new Greensboro campus on East Wendover Avenue. A community services group that rents space in an annex building will stay indefinitely, Williams said.

Having more athletic fields under its control will be a boon to the college, Williams said.

The complex should be more attractive to prospective students, he said. The fields could be open for community use in a part of town that has little park space. And though the college has had good relationships with the groups from which it leases athletics fields, "sometimes it's unsettling to be at the mercy of the scheduling priorities of another entity," Williams said.

The J.C. Price Complex purchase is the college's third major addition in the past year.

This fall, 110 Greensboro College students moved into the former University Inn, and the college opened the former Central YMCA on West Market Street as a student recreation center. Eventually, the former YMCA will be home to the college's indoor athletic teams, including the basketball, swimming and volleyball teams.

Though the college's enrollment continues to grow, the school is not looking to add more land or buildings off campus.

"We don't have our eye on any additional property," Williams said. The three recent purchases, he added, "give us the package we need."

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