On Sept. 11, Saint Augustine’s University announced that the old playing surface at the George Williams Athletic Complex was being replaced. The project is scheduled for completion by Oct. 6, ahead of the Falcons’ Homecoming matchup against Fayetteville State University, the announcement stated.
The new surface is needed to replace the artificial turf dating back to 2011, according to the press release. And the football program is not the lone benefactor of the resurfacing project. The new field is set to be used by almost all SAU’s student-athletes as well as SAU’s Superior Sound marching band, SAU intramurals and the Blue Chips spirit/cheer programs.
While I support the football team and the other programs, I wonder about the university’s priorities at a time when at a time when the university has experienced severe maintenance problems.
During this semester, two residential dorms experienced problems with hot water, washers and dryers. A water main break closed the quad to vehicle traffic for a period of time. There have been a number of internet outages. And parts of two academic buildings as well as the library are not being used in the fall because of problems with air conditioning and mold.
Students I talked to are very unhappy with the inconveniences they have had to suffer. Residents of both Latham and Baker Halls have, in many cases, been left to rely on the kindness of their fellow students to access hot water. One resident of Baker Hall complained that he has to walk to Falkcrest to take a shower.
Many classes were switched to different locations in the fall causing unnecessary confusion at the beginning of the semester. In some cases classes were switched to locations that require a longer walk, like to Gould.
Everyone supports the Falcons (even with their losing record this season and the past two seasons) but it’s hard to cheer the new playing surface with so many other needs on campus.
The Department of Housing and Residential Life, for the most part, has been transparent about what has caused the dorm issues and has fixed the worst problems. But while the Falcons’ football team will have its moment of glory at Homecoming when the resurfaced football field debuts, it will be harder for some students who have been plagued with so many inconveniences to cheer.
And when all maintenance problems are fixed — and everybody can take a hot shower again — it will be easier to hail the blue and white.
— Kristoff Strachan