By Staff Writer
The parking lot behind Village II was packed with over 200 coaches, student athletes, faculty and alumni on Saturday, April 25. The crowd gathered to watch the groundbreaking of the new synthetic turf field that will be finished before fall sports begin their preseason on August 18.
Birdsong Field, named after George Birdsong, Sue Birdsong, and the Birdsong Corporation, will host men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, field hockey games and intramural sports games.
“We’ve been waiting for this to happen for such a long time and it’s great that we’ll be able to compete with everyone on the aspect of having a synthetic turf field, it makes our facility look great, and gives us more opportunity,” said women’s lacrosse head coach Meagan DiCave.
The new field also brings a new level of excitement to the athletic department, as sports teams will now be able to play on turf, which should make game play better. Moreover, Birdsong Field will provide coaches and sports teams a great selling point for potential student athletes.
“We are really excited about the upcoming field, it’s going to be great for our program, our recruiting process,” said men’s lacrosse head coach J.P. Stewart.
The Birdsongs had the honor of having the new field being named after them due to the $1 million donation they made for the field to be constructed back in January of 2014. Money will continued to be raised after the field begins to be built, because another $300,000 is required to complete the project.
“You can’t put the importance of two individuals who have done so much for this college, if you look at just the importance of the Birdsong family to this college it’s hard to measure,” said Athletic Director Joanne Renn.
Not only is the athletic community excited, but former VWC President Dr. William T. Greer expressed elation for the new field and the donors.
“Our coaches and student-athletes perform at a high level, and the addition of this turf field will enhance their ability to compete even more successfully in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. We are indebted to the Birdsongs, our Board of Trustees and donors for providing tremendous leadership to the College and helping to make this important initiative a reality,” said Dr. Greer in a VWC press release.
Synthetic turf is nothing new for many of the schools in the ODAC, as VWC was one of the last schools in the conference to not have a turf field.
“Just the turf in general is a huge recruiting aspect for us,” said DiCave. “We are one of the few schools in the ODAC that don’t have turf so in the spring that hinders us because of all the rain we get in this area. Having turf to be able to use all the time will be great as well as having another field that is game ready at any time will also be a huge bonus for the program.”
In addition to a better field experience, Birdsong Field will give the college the opportunity to host NCAA Division III tournament games as well as ODAC playoff games, something that has never happened at VWC.
Birdsong Field has also been built for the future. If VWC ever developed a football program, the new field would be more than capable in hosting football games.
“The board wanted us to build this field big enough so that in the very far future it could be used for football,” Renn said.
The beginning stages of construction are set to begin after graduation on May 16.