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New and renewed sports spaces

Five athletic facilities completed or revamped

Colorado Mesa University is no stranger to construction — from academic buildings to residence halls and a science museum. Lately CMU’s athletic facilities have been getting attention.

CMU’s softball field on the campus’ north border is not for Mavericks only. It’s also home field for area high schools. The stands fill up fast but an upgrade behind center field, completed last April, increased capacity.

“You could call it a hospitality deck,” said Bryan Rooks, co-director of athletics, of the new covered structure that added a concession venue and 120 seats suitable for general seating or special events.

The Maverick Baseball Team play home games at the city-owned Suplizio Field and practice at on-campus Bergman Field. Early discussions were about making the practice field a better practice field, said David Detwiler, acting director of facilities, but thinking has expanded.

“The plan is to make it a playable game venue,” said Rooks. Currently in the design stage with construction slated for 2020, upgrades will include a clubhouse, bullpens, batting cages, press box, 1,500 seats and an outfield wall.

CMU’s track and field athletes currently have no on-campus practice field, using nearby high school and city facilities. The asphalt underlayer for a track was installed in late fall 2019 just west of the baseball field on Orchard Avenue. The track’s top surface will be applied in spring. The new track will be for practice and to eventually host meets.

Near the center of campus is a new, unusual cycling venue — a pump track, a continuous loop of berms and mounds that are rode without pedaling. The track can be used by all bike types and will be a training facility. Track construction will be completed in early 2020. “We’ll do a spring cleanup,” Detwiler said, “but CMU’s Cycling Team has been testing it out.”

Esports now has a home on campus at 12th Street and Elm Avenue. Yes, computer games. “It’s very competitive and requires team and individual efforts,” Rooks said. Add focus, strategic thinking and fast reflexes, esports has entered the collegiate arena.

Construction of the computer stations, lounge areas and the integrated computer system is done and ready for use. In addition to competitions, the gaming space will be open to students.

“We’re always looking at what’s needed to improve the experience for student-athletes, student spectators and the community as a whole,” Rooks said. “That’s what drives our conversations about athletic facilities.” •

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Written by Deborah Dawes