On March 13, a petition titled ‘A Cure for Kehoe’ was released to voice concerns by Georgetown students in club sports about the lack of solutions to the closure of Kehoe Field on Feb. 2. According to the petition, the University’s current long-term plans will take nearly eight years to complete, leaving club sports teams with insufficient options for the foreseeable future. “We are asking the administration to implement a short term solution to Kehoe Field’s closure so that we may continue to play the sports that we love,” the petition reads.
According to James McGrath, head of the Advisory Board for Club Sports (ABCS), the petition was created by ABCS in conjunction with the GUSA executive. The University’s plan, says McGrath, is to prevent people from using Kehoe until they collect capital and complete a plan to build a recreational facility to replace Yates. “I received that information in multiple presentations from Robin Morey, Vice President for Planning and Facilities Management,” he said. “This process should take between eight and fifteen years… Our goal is to see Kehoe renovated in order to bridge the gap between its recent closure and the start of the new recreational facility.”
Prior to Kehoe field’s closure, the field was known to be an unsafe practice space and an undesirable option by club sports teams.
The field posed various problems for club sports while in use. “The turf on Kehoe is field hockey turf, which nobody uses for soccer, and is covered in minor ‘sinkholes’ and patches of torn up turf,” explained Men’s Club Soccer Team president Zachary Moore (MSB ‘17) in an email to the Voice when asked about Kehoe after its closure. According to Moore, the dangers of practicing on the field led the Men’s Club Soccer Team to establish a policy of not holding practice there when possible, because athletes could not train “without worrying about stepping into one of the “sinkholes” and rolling an ankle, or going to ground and tearing up their legs on its rough surface.”
Now that Kehoe has been closed due to these dangers and the ongoing drainage issues, Club Sports are left with even fewer options than before.
According to Men’s Ultimate Frisbee President and Treasurer Perry Cao (SFS ‘17), short-term options to the loss of Kehoe include extending its viability briefly through minimal repairs, thereby rendering the field inaccessible for a period of months, rather than years; refurbishing Kehoe and Yates field house to extend their usage by about ten years, thereby rendering them inaccessible for 12 months; or completely redesigning Kehoe, taking 18 months or more. However, he said these plans are “placeholders to buy time while Master Planning gets underway.”
“The university plans to have a long-term re-envisioning of campus field space by demolishing Yates, constructing a new gym/athletics facility where Shaw Field currently is, and moving Shaw Field down to ground level. The specifics can be found [on the Master Planning website]. This is projected to take many years to complete, long after I’m graduated.” Cao wrote in an email to the Voice.
“The Kehoe petition is a great first step to show the administration exactly how many students are directly affected by the Kehoe shutdown,” wrote Women’s Club Rugby President Sandhya Mahadevan (SFS ‘17) in an email to the Voice. “The administration needs to recognize the need for both immediate and long-term solutions for the Kehoe situation.”
Cao, Mahadevan, and Moore all say their sports support the petition.
“It feels as though the interests of my team and other club teams are being brushed aside,” wrote Cao. “The university was not proactive in producing a solution when they knew this would become an eventual problem many years ago.”