Board of Trustees Approve Two Major Construction Projects — Other Highlights
At its December 2013 meeting, the Board of Trustees authorized construction to begin in April 2014 on Rafferty Stadium, a 3,500-seat facility that will be the home for the University’s nationally recognized Division I lacrosse programs.
The Board’s approval recognized the substantial progress that has been made in fundraising efforts for the project, which is one of three capital projects identified as current priorities in the University’s evolving comprehensive campaign plan. The name of the new stadium recognizes the lead gift of former Trustee Larry Rafferty ’64 and his family.
The new stadium will result from the complete renovation of the existing Alumni Field. It will also serve as a practice and competition venue, for additional varsity, club, intramural, and Fairfield Prep sports. In addition to structured seating and facade, the facility will include concessions, bathrooms, visiting team rooms, press box, VIP suites, lighting, video scoreboard, and broadcasting technology.
The men’s lacrosse program will compete one final season in 2014 in the ECAC Lacrosse League before joining the Colonial Athletic Association, another premier lacrosse league, for the 2015 season. Rafferty Stadium will be completed and ready in time for the 2015 season.
The Board also approved construction of the Prep School’s new Student Life Center. The Center will serve as a crossroads for important school activities. This state-of-the-art, technology-enriched, multi-purpose facility will feature a number of specialized, but functionally related spaces. The Center will foster a synergy between the academic and co-curricular lives of the school by providing students the opportunity to meet, to interact, to explore, and to cultivate their interests outside of the classroom. The facility will include an enhanced dining area to accommodate 500 students and other school-sponsored functions; an assembly area for formal and informal meetings; and office space to support various student-based programs such as Campus Ministry, the SEED Diversity Program, and Community Service. The project is to commence in the spring of 2014 and be completed in the fall of 2015.
In other business, Executive Vice President Kevin Lawlor outlined the agenda for the refresh of the University’s Strategic Plan — a process launched on Wednesday, Jan. 29. In outlining the need for a refresh of the plan, Lawlor emphasized that there were four key areas driving the need for change: the decreasing viability of raising tuition to meet costs; disruptive innovations brought about by new technologies; demographic trends that indicate there will be fewer potential undergraduates in the Northeast in coming years; and a faster-paced, more competitive market. For more information on Fairfield 2020: Building a More Sustainable future go to http://strategicplanning.fairfield.edu.
The Board also approved the conferral honorary degrees during undergraduate and graduate Commencement Exercises on May 18, 2014. Recipients and speakers will be announced in April. Among updates presented to and discussed by Board committees were development of renovation and expansion plans for the School of Nursing and health sciences facilities, current and multi-year financial forecasts, the role of mission and identity at the University, updates on senior administrative searches, updates on the School of Engineering, undergraduate enrollment and the recruitment of the Class of 2018, current and future state of academic technology at Fairfield, procedures and training for responding to sexual assaults on campus, and the recruitment of new Trustees.
Above: Designer's rendition of a completed Rafferty Stadium