ECAV’s Harkness Ground and main gymnasium are undergoing major refurbishment

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The Harkness Ground and Main Gymnasium at East Campus Athletic Village underwent extensive renovations over the summer. Director of Facilities Operations Scott Sasenbury ’97 spoke with Polytechnic on the renovations carried out.

Sasenbury explained why the renovations needed to be made to the main ECAV gymnasium, noting it had to do with updates to basketball league rules. “There have been many rule changes with certain lines. Most notably, the three-point line also changed the restricted arc area below the basket. One option could have been to add more lines to the pitch, but with enough lines, Sasenbury feared it might have to be redone eventually. The basketball court’s three-point line arc is no longer a true semi-circle, but just a straight line along the sides. Renovations to the main gymnasium included a “deep sand and full court painting”, as well as a change from a two-inch line to a one-inch line for the side courts. Additionally, a new side field line was added to accommodate the men’s league lines. “Other schools in our Liberty League and across the United States have had to do this due to rule changes.”

Sasenbury said he was pleased with the finish, as well as the renovations carried out over the summer instead of “rushing it through the winter months”. Due to COVID-19, modifications to the auxiliary gymnasium have not been made and will instead be made over the winter. Sasenbury did not reveal the cost of these changes but noted that the renovations carried out were worth maintaining the rules. Instead, Sasenbury mentioned that the annual cost of renovating the gymnasium is $5,000-7,000. The changes made this year took longer and cost more.

Harkness Field has undergone a complete replacement. Prior to the renovations, Harkness Field used rubber granule infill. “It’s a totally different technology,” Sasenbury began. Notably, this pitch can now be watered before matches, allowing for more precise ball movement. The water connection equipment is not yet completely finished, but should be soon. There are also no football lines on Harkness Ground. “We really don’t use this pitch for college football,” Sasenbury explained, “we have football lines on the pitch below as well as in the stadium; club football will tend to practice and play on Renwyck in addition to the stadium at times. Since the new pitch allows watering before games, water trenches have necessarily been added to the pitch around the perimeter. This should also solve a flooding problem on the pitch. therefore adapts better to contact play thanks to a two-inch elastic layer that gives more cushioning. “Our teams love it,” Sasenbury said. “It was almost a competitive disadvantage and a recruiting disadvantage to not not have a real field hockey surface.”

Sasenbury later wrote in an email to Polytechnic, “We could not have completed these projects without the support of our campus planning, physical facilities, and environmental and site services staff. Their continued support of all projects is essential and we are grateful for their collaboration and full support.

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