Keene State adding new dressing room facilities at outdoor complex
KEENE, N.H. 6/14/12 – There were no games scheduled at Owl Athletic Complex on Tuesday night, but that didn’t stop a small group of Keene State coaches and physical plant workers from raising an exulting cheer that could be heard back on campus.
“Everyone was excited to see the arrival of the new modular dressing rooms and the departure of the old trailers,” said Donnie Sherrick, who has worked for the KSC physical plant for the past 23 years. “No one is going to miss those trailers.”
Looking to address the need for better home and visitor dressing-room facilities at the complex, Keene State athletic director John Ratliff feels the modular buildings will solve the problem. “As good as our outdoor field and playing surfaces are, we lacked the ancillary things such as locker rooms,” said Ratliff. “They fill a major void as far as outdoor facilities are concerned. They greatly improve the complex and fit all our needs.”
“To see those modular trailers after all this time is terrific,” said Keene State men’s soccer coach Ron Butcher. “They’re going to make a lot of people happy. It’s a long time coming.”
“You didn’t realize how hideous the old trailers were because we got so used to seeing them,” said Owl field hockey coach Amy Watson. “When we started to see what other options were out there, the modular units made a lot of sense. We had gotten to a point where our facilities weren’t adequate, and we really had to step it up.”
Ratliff said he got a lot of support for the project from the College, including Marc Doyon, the assistant director of the Keene State physical plant. “Everyone knew this was a priority project for the Athletics department,” said Ratliff.
Ratliff spotted one of the two units when he took a different route home one day and saw a modular classroom building in front of the former Keene Middle School on Washington Street. “I didn’t realize there was another in the back. One thing led to another and we were able to buy them,” said Ratliff. “The timing was right. Had it been a month later, someone else would’ve taken them.” The College got the two units at a good price.
The modular dressing rooms will be located between the far end of the field hockey/lacrosse turf field and the grass soccer stadium. Sherrick and his crew prepared the site by moving a row of arborvitae, stripping the sod, and pouring concrete for the pad.
There’s still a lot of work to do. A nine-foot walkway providing access to the fields will be installed. A deck will run the full length of the trailers and skirting will be placed around the bottom. Once the electricity and irrigation work is completed, the crew will seed the area and install a patio to use for athletic and alumni events.
The new facilities will also be a welcoming convenience for visiting players, who will no longer have to trudge over Spaulding Gym to take a shower. They can shower at the complex and get back on the bus.
“The students and the athletes are my customers,” said Sherrick. “We try to please them, and projects like this make their athletic experience that much better.” He also points out that the project, to be completed in August, is being done all in-house, saving a lot of money.
After 10 years of utilizing the old trailers, the new modular units will be a pleasant change for Owl athletes when they return in the fall. “We’ve had a lot of good memories celebrating Little East championships in the old trailers, but it’s time to move on,” said KSC men’s lacrosse coach Mark Theriault.
“We needed these for a long, long time and finally see something going in that beautifies the stadium and makes it look so much better,” said Butcher.