MVCC seeks $10M makeover for athletic fields on Utica campus

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Mohawk Valley Community College is proposing a $10.1 million makeover of its athletic fields at the Utica campus, highlighted by construction of a multipurpose stadium with artificial turf.

The improvements are needed because the current outdoor facilities do not meet National Junior College Athletic Association standards, according to the school. The upgraded venues would be able to host NJCAA championship events, says MVCC President Randall J. VanWagoner.

It is anticipated that about one-third of the cost would be paid from donations to the college, reducing Oneida County’s share.

An unidentified donor has already agreed to ante up $2.5 million, according to VanWagoner. This donor would receive naming rights for the stadium.

The stadium, with seating for 1,950, would be used for sports like lacrosse and soccer.

A second turf field would be built for softball.

Both the stadium and softball field would have lights.

The school, unlike some other area community colleges, currently has no artificial turf fields.

The track would be expanded to eight lanes.

MVCC fields 19 intercollegiate teams.

VanWagoner and other school officials reviewed the plan Wednesday with Oneida County officials and legislators. The committee will make a recommendation next week to County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. on whether include the project in his 2018 capital budget.

The proposed financing is a mix of state and county dollars, as well as private donations. Most capital projects for New York’s community colleges are 50-50 splits between the state and sponsor, which in MVCC’s case it is the county. However, when it comes to the proposed sports facility improvements, the college’s foundation has pledged to reimburse the county for $3.5 million of its projected share of about $5 million. The county would bond for its share and then be reimbursed $700,000 annually by the foundation for five years, leaving a net amount of $1.5 million for the county.

VanWagoner said it would be cheaper and easier to undertake all of the field improvements as one project, rather than in phases spread over several years.

The fields’ project is part of a larger plan to upgrade buildings and facilities at the Utica campus. The school also wants to: improve signage to make it easier to get around the campus; upgrade data, telecom and wireless network technology; mitigate periodic basement flooding in the Alumni College Center building; and draw up plans for an anticipated future expansion and renovation of the Science & Technology Building.

A major overhaul of the Rome campus was completed last school year.

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