The University of Oregon Office of Campus Planning unveiled their study outlining possible locations for new recreation fields on Friday. The study is not intended to select an actual site for new fields, but instead to identify possible locations for UO to look into.
The study was produced at the request of UO President Michael Schill in response to a senate request to hold off on possible plans to develop the land known as North Campus. Schill made an announcement in May 2018 that UO may still consider using this land but that they would also look at other locations.
The other areas that study looked for the fields at include the current location of the Campus Planning and Facilities Management offices, a patch of land behind the Global Scholars Hall, part of the parking lot by Autzen Stadium, the tennis courts currently behind Hayward Field and the UO police department offices.
This North Campus is the land currently being used for recreation fields on the northside of Franklin Blvd between the railroad tracks and the Willamette River. It’s those run-down patches of grass and metal fence UO students walk by on their way to football games before they cross the river.
UO senators requested that UO relinquish their control over the land because development of this area could disrupt the ecology and research being done by UO students and professors.
Aaron Olsen, landscape planning associate for UO Office of Campus Planning, was one of the authors of the recently released study. He said that the study is not comprehensive and that it only looked at preliminary requirements when considering different locations across campus for new recreation fields.
Sites were put through three different levels of consideration. If they meet basic requirements like size, location and zoning then they go to the second level. At the second level, each site that made it past the first is looked at for “key criteria” like environmental concerns, public need, neighborhood considerations, cost considerations and their safety for students hoping to access the fields in the future.
Both Olsen and the study’s wording reassert ad nauseum that the study is not a site selection but instead consider “initial key criteria that will need to be considered for each site.” Olsen said that the sites considered in the study weren’t looked at in detail. The study was started in the fall of 2018 with the final presentation consisting of six boards.
The study also began to consider partnerships within the Eugene/Springfield community. According to the study, the community is in need of more recreation space and the open house at the EMU was held as an opportunity to meet with possible partners and stakeholders.
The open house took place on Friday afternoon to showcase the newly released study and included six boards of images and explanations of the study.