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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

New Ward constructed for Mac field

By Lee Purvey

With the start of the new school year, a returning student might notice many changes to the landscape of the Grinnell College campus. Following the completion of the Charles Benson Bear ’39 Recreation and Athletic Center last fall and the subsequent demolition of its functional predecessor, the Physical Education Complex (PEC), a new addition to the College’s campus appeared this summer in the very spot where the PEC used to stand—a large parking lot and surrounding system of sidewalks and lawns.
Named the Ward Field Parking Lot, costing $677,489, the lot contains 126 new parking spaces. The majority of the parking space in the new lot is reserved for members of the Grinnell College faculty and staff. However, a significant portion of the lot is designated as visitor space, in an attempt to deal with the parking shortages that have plagued Grinnell’s sporting events for some time.
“We’ve had visitors here on campus that may have to park many blocks away, simply because there was not on-campus parking facilities available,” said Greg Wallace, Director of Athletics and Recreation.
Wallace hopes the inclusion of 20 four-hour visitor parking spots in the Ward Field lot, will help to address this issue.
With the creation of the Ward Field parking lot, many have found themselves reflecting back on the building that it replaced—the PEC, which served the campus community since its construction in 1971.
Lauren O’Hair ’12, a member of the Women’s Swimming team since her first year at Grinnell, has fond memories of the place, as well as the rituals, like pre-practice music blasted from pool-side speakers and the PEC showers that made it home.
“It was a really nice place to have my first few years,” O’Hair said. “There are a bunch of traditions there.”
Despite feelings of nostalgia for the PEC, the new Bear facility has its advantages too.
“There’s a lot more seating and it’s more comfortable for people,” O’Hair said. “I think it instills in people a sense that this is a cool thing to go to.”
For now, according to Wallace, no further projects are immediately planned for Grinnell’s athletic facilities for the simple reason that none are necessary.
“Most of our outdoor fields, as well as the indoor section, have all been either redone or [were built] within the last 10 years,” Wallace said. “It really gives us one of the very best facilities for athletics, recreation and wellness in Division III.”

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