Austin Anderson // email@example.com Marquette's new seasonal dome at valley fields held its first practices Monday morning after months of expedited construction.
With many high-profile and highly anticipated university development plans and projects, like the freshman residence hall and Athletic Performance Research Center, the new dome over Valley Fields seems underwhelming. However, as collegiate, club and intramural teams began practicing under the bubble the past few weeks, it is clear the dome is a generous investment for not only Marquette’s Division I athletes, but all students involved in any type of campus athletic program.
In October, when the plan for the dome was announced, Bill Scholl, vice president and director of athletics, called it “a more immediate step” in accommodating all student athletes until the APRC will host indoor fields for the soccer and lacrosse teams.
The demand for practice time at the dome is currently high between DI, intramural and club teams, but access to an indoor facility is an extremely valuable asset to any team, especially in Milwaukee where the weather seems impossible to predict.
With the new dome, lacrosse can host teams in the colder months for games and scrimmages, something that will surely play a strong hand in the six-year-old program’s increased success.
In addition, the dome is advantageous for teams like club soccer who for years has been stuck in the old Gymnasium, forced to modify their drills to the hardwood floors and cramped space.
President of the women’s club soccer team Christa Kuhlman said that her team has really enjoyed the few times they’ve practiced in the dome. They have to split the field with other club and intramural teams, but she said this is not really a problem since the space is so big. Of their two practices per week, one is still at the Gym and the other is at Valley Fields. “Once all the scheduling kinks are worked out, it will be really beneficial,” Kuhlman said.
Scholl also said he thinks that in the long-term, the dome is a club sport-focused amenity and that even when the APRC is up and running, there will still be “a great need for indoor training space” for club sports. “I don’t think we’ll ever have too much covered indoor space in Milwaukee.”
When the DI lacrosse and soccer teams can move to the APRC, benefits of the dome will only increase for club and intramural teams. This $3.6 million improvement of Valley Fields, fully funded by various donors and athletic reserve funds, shows the university’s commitment to all levels of student athletes and increases the value of any athletic experience at Marquette.
During a year at Marquette when the administration has announced major, decades-long plans, it’s nice to see a project with quick turnaround. Even those graduating in May can enjoy this great addition, if only for a few months.