SCRANTON -- The University of Scranton has big plans for athletic fields in Scranton, some of which residents can use.
The Southside Athletic Complex on Broadway Street right on the south Scranton/west Scranton line doesn't look like much now. Starting early next year, the University of Scranton will pour $14 million into this place to create the university's own athletic complex.
Tuesday morning at the university's campus in the hill section, university officials revealed plans for the complex. They showed us 3D animations of the fields for the baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey teams, along with basketball courts, and a playground open to the public.
Now, all of those teams share a limited amount of space. Student athletes say the new sports facility will help with recruitment.
"When Southside Complex was up and running, there was a lot of people down there watching games and it's not only good for the university but for baseball in the area in general," said University of Scranton baseball coach Michael Bartoletti.
The project means the University of Scranton will finally have fields for baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey. Players packed a room on campus to see what it all will look like.
"I'm so excited," said junior softball player Kaitlyn Brogan. "Now we play on a field in Jessup, which is 15 minutes away. It's a struggle getting there and we have to compete with other local teams, Now getting a field of our own, we don't."
"Right now, it's kind of hard to schedule specific times to practice at," said freshman soccer player Blake Hammert. "Right now we have practices anywhere from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at night, so it's hard to get on the field at designated times."
The field those teams share now, Fitzgerald Field on campus, will be used for intermural sports. The new fields will be the university's largest property outside of the hill section.
The University of Scranton has owned the property for more than a decade, and in that time, university officials have raised $8 million in donations that will go toward the $14 million bill.
Included in the project are some gifts to the community: two basketball courts and a playground that will be open to the public.
"I think it's going to be definitely great," said sophomore soccer player Erica Licari. "The city of Scranton will all come out and create a cool environment and a great atmosphere. I think it will be really nice for everyone."
The University of Scranton's new athletic complex is expected to be done this time next year.