The closure of Kehoe Field on Feb. 2 has left club sports at Georgetown University temporarily without a practice field. The University is investigating alternative practice locations, according to Lauren Gagliardi, Assistant Director at the Center for Student Engagement (CSE). “A team of colleagues across the university, including the Advisory Board for Club Sports [ABCS], have been exploring fields within walking distance from campus that may be available for Georgetown’s use,” Gagliardi wrote in an email to the Voice.
Until a suitable facility is found, however, club sports face difficulty in finding field time for their practices. Perry Cao, Treasurer and President of the Men’s Ultimate Frisbee Club, wrote in an email to the Voice that his team’s practices will be forty-five minutes shorter than they were before the closure of Kehoe Field, and that they will inconveniently pushed back to between 11:30 p.m and 12:30 a.m. He added that the Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Club’s practice time has been cut in half since the closure of Kehoe Field, from two hours to one.
Kehoe Field, located on top of Yates Field House and formerly the site of certain club sports’ practices, was closed by the University until February 2017 due to the deteriorating and unsafe quality of its artificial turf and its ineffective drainage system, as reported by The Hoya. Todd Olson, Vice President for Student Affairs, told The Hoya that Kehoe Field will be closed for the next 11 months while the University investigates options for its future.
Olson and Robin Morey, Vice President for Planning and Facilities Management, said in their statement on Feb. 2 on the closure of Kehoe Field that the University hoped to make arrangements for the use of Jelleff Field, a facility located seven minutes away by car on S Street. Jelleff Field is owned by the Washington D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation and is frequently used by the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington. However, this arrangement was unsuccessful. “Jelleff Field is unavailable as it is being used by youth sports,” Gagliardi wrote in an email to the Voice.
The administration has had to look into other alternatives in the absence of Jelleff Field. According to Gagliardi, the University has looked at fifteen potential locations, of which the best options are for weeknights are Francis Park at 25th and M Street NW and Mitchell Park at 1801 23rd Street NW, and the Georgetown Day School on weekends. Gagliardi added that the administration plans to expand use of Cooper Field by offering it to club sports teams in the evening after intramurals end.
Some club athletes expressed discontent their practice options and with the way the University has handled the situation. Cao wrote in an email to the Voice that although he was satisfied with the efforts by the ABCS to find new practice spaces given the difficult circumstances, he took issue with the University’s failure to preempt this conflict. “I attended the roundtable on Club Sports several weeks ago and learned that the administration knew Kehoe would expire many, many years before it did. The fact that Georgetown did not take steps to prepare for its closure (such as finding alternative field space) is upsetting.”
Cao further suggested that the shortage of field space came about as a result of the University’s focus on varsity sports over club sports. According to Cao, until the roundtable, club sports representatives had not been included in the decision making process regarding field space. “The administration has not prioritized our interests, and this will clearly be a serious problem for many years to come until a comprehensive solution is reached.”