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New recreation fields open to students

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New artificial turf recreation fields have opened on UNG's Dahlonega Campus.

A dream more than a decade in the making has come true. New artificial turf recreation fields have opened on the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Dahlonega Campus.

Student Government Association (SGA) began allocating student fees for the project in 2008. After 10 years of collecting money from student activity and Recreation Center fees and pairing them with auxiliary reserves and institutional funds, $4.4 million was raised for the project.

The University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents approved construction of the fields in October 2018. The fields opened for some intramural sports and Corps of Cadets physical training in October 2020, and club sports teams will use the fields as soon as possible amid the pandemic.

In addition to artificial turf, the fields feature lights that serve as a game-changer. Now, games are not limited by daylight as happened when contests were held on the Gen. William "Lipp" Livsey Drill Field. Extended hours for games are possible, which means fewer scheduling conflicts.

"We're better able to fit students' daily schedules by being able to play into the evening," said Rob Kelly, coordinator for intramural sports and sports clubs.

The facility includes four 100-yard-by-40-yard fields and a 100-space parking lot located on Radar Ridge behind the UNG soccer fields, and an equipment building with restrooms is planned.

"There's definitely a wow factor with these fields," Kelly said.

Chad Hall, a sophomore from Marietta, Georgia, pursuing a degree in management, said the new fields can be a showcase where the university's club sports teams can host tournaments.

"It opens it up for other schools to come and see what our campus is about," said Hall, an intramural sports supervisor.

Hall said the artificial turf should mean far fewer game cancellations due to rain, as the fields should drain much easier.

"To have the versatility that artificial turf brings is unique," Hall said.

Mary Rebecca Deppen, a senior from Augusta, Georgia, pursuing a degree in biology with a minor in psychology, works with intramural and club sports as a supervisor. She is excited at the numbers of club sports teams that will now have access to top-notch fields on campus rather than traveling to local schools or Yahoola Creek Park for practices.

"These fields give intramural sports a space of its own here on campus. We've been bringing students together on campus from all walks of life and organizations for quite a while," Deppen said. "These new fields give students a specific place to go for these activities and a proud responsibility for us staff to encourage the future involvement of UNG students."

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