Athletic & Recreation dept. to launch capital funding campaign


JSC Athletics

Jamey Ventura

It would make our program a little bit more competitive.”


The Athletics and Recreation Department at JSC is starting to move forward on a large scale five year plan to upgrade and enhance many aspects of sports and recreation on campus.

“We are looking at what areas we need to enhance facility-wise,” said Director of Athletics & Recreation Jamey Ventura. “The first step that we are going to take will focus mostly on outdoor facilities. We have needs out there that we should address.”

Chief among them are plans for a turf field. This would give JSC teams a place to practice year round. It would also allow the athletic department to stop renting out turf from Saint Michael’s College and other areas. Such a field would be used for various campus and community events, not just for varsity sports.

“It would make our program a little bit more competitive,” said Assistant Director of External and Internal Information Elaine Harvey. “[A turf field] is something more schools, and certainly something more high schools, are switching to. It would be a big draw in terms of recruiting.”

Soft ball fencing and dugouts will also be getting an upgrade. New lights and seating will accompany these changes. The possibility of outside tennis courts and a track field have also been brought up in discussions.

Further enhancements are planned for inside SHAPE. This would include improvements and expansions to locker rooms, new training facilities, and fitness equipment.

Many aspects of this plan are still in the information gathering stage. How many of these goals are actually accomplished depends largely on the amount of money secured through fundraising, which would include contacting donor groups, alumni, and various community grants.

A silent phase of fundraising will exist while the Athletic Department explores its options. Once the money has been secured, full details will be made public.

“When raising money, we may find somebody or a business that might want to give money to a certain facility project,” said Ventura. “That gift could elevate that project toward the top of the priority list. So for now we have a number of facility upgrades we have identified and as we start raising money, the gifts will help determine what will be upgraded.”

There is no question that these upgrades will be expensive. A typical turf field costs anywhere from $800,000 to $1,000,000 before lights are added. These lights create another $200,000 to $300,000 investment.

Specific costs for these upgrades are currently under investigation.

The five-year plan, which has been approved by President Barbra Murphy and her council, will soon be available on the Johnson State Athletics website later this week. This plan was created with the overall strategic goals of the college in mind.

“It’s important that the rest of the campus sees how we plan and how we fit into the whole,” said Harvey.
With improved facilities, the Athletics Department hopes to increase the number of student athletes on campus, a number that has been steadily rising for the last two years.