After several hours spent downtown at City Hall listening to complaints from neighbors and support from several different people, the Zoning Board of Appeals finally decided to grant Kalamazoo College its request for a zoning variance, allowing the College to move forward with renovations of the athletic fields as well as Calder field house. For the athletes at K, this is a long-overdue decision.
There is no question that Kalamazoo has bottom-tier facilities for outdoor sports and has lagged behind schools such as Adrian and Hope in keeping those facilities current. With the request for the zoning variance approved, those facilities are just two years away—September 2012—from receiving the much needed upgrade.
Gone are the days of three teams sharing one locker room, sometimes in the same season. Also gone are rolled ankles and twisted knees, caused by slippery, uneven fields. Now I don’t expect anyone would ever blame a loss or an injury on a below-average field surface, but it is certainly much easier to gain balance on an artificial turf surface than it is on a beat-down natural-grass surface.
This is a huge step for Kalamazoo athletes who have been asked to perform on sub-par fields and house their equipment in a sub-par field house for far too long. This will make the whole experience better for athletes who chooses Kalamazoo. The opportunity to play on brand-new fields with a brand-new field house to call home is a hope that will soon be fulfilled for many athletes.