The snow and ice that covered Stony Brook University’s Campus Recreation Field Complex by the South P Lot this winter was more than an inconvenience to sports clubs that needed to maintain their practice and game schedules.
Jay Souza, the director of the Department of Campus Recreation, said that plowing the complex’s artificial turf field requires a third-party contractor. The complex’s two grass fields, Souza said, cannot be plowed or shoveled without being destroyed, so teams had to wait for the snow to clear on its own.
“We have to make sure that fields are safe and playable,” Souza said. “If they’re just a sheet of ice, then we’d have to cancel operations.”
The Stony Brook University campus was hit by several snow storms since the start of the semester. Winter Storm Juno dumped about 20 inches of snow on Jan. 26, and Winter Storm Linus dropped about six inches of snow on Feb. 2, according to the National Weather Service.
The Department of Campus Recreation and the sports clubs paid for the turf field to be plowed on the last week of February at a rate of about $100 per hour, Souza said, but Winter Storm Thor packed on another seven inches of snow on March 5.
“It’s terrible, but it’s something that can’t be controlled,” said James Alrassi, a member of the men’s rugby team and the executive vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government, in an interview. “We’ve only had, like, one practice in two weeks.”
The men’s rugby team, which plays in the Empire Rugby Conference, had a 10-team tournament on Stony Brook’s field scheduled for March 7, so the turf field had be plowed yet again on March 6.
Thomas Kirnbauer, the advisor for the men’s rugby team and the administrative director of USG, said the snow caused “a turbulent couple of weeks” for his team. He commended Campus Recreation for paying for the second plowing rather than asking the sports clubs for additional funds.
“It allowed us to have a tournament that wouldn’t have been possible at any other school in the Northeast,” he said.
Kirnbauer mentioned that the men’s rugby team also used an indoor facility in Ronkonkoma during the winter to prepare for a national tournament in Las Vegas in February.
“It’s not nearly as good as a full outdoor field, but it at least allowed us to exercise and have some ball in hand and do what we could,” he said.
Susan DiMonda, the advisor for the women’s lacrosse team and the associate dean and director of Student Life, said that Campus Recreation had to wait for the right time to get the field plowed.
“I think the staff and Recreation did their best to make the fields accessible,” she said. “Plowing is costly, and they have to do it at the right time. If they plow and it snows one or two days later, it’s like, ‘Well, there’s $2,000 out the window.’”
At the USG senate meeting on Feb. 26, representatives of the men’s club lacrosse team said they had originally planned to shovel the fields with the women’s club lacrosse team and the rugby team.
“Fair enough with the shovelling, it wasn’t approved,” said Jonathan Sadeh, the president of the men’s club lacrosse team. “We have to get it plowed, and we now have to pay for it. Don’t worry; we didn’t do anything illegal.”
DiMonda called spring “a tricky season” but said that the improving weather means the fields will be more playable soon.
“Now we just have to wait for the fields to dry out so they won’t be so soft,” she said.
The university officially opened the newly-renovated field complex in April 2014. The complex’s three fields—the two grass fields and one turf field—measure over nine acres, according to a university press release.