Rivier investing $5M in athletic facilities

NASHUA – As part of Rivier University’s Vision 2020 plan, there is a special focus on student well-being, and university officials recognize that athletics are important for a complete college experience.

Therefore, the school’s athletic facilities are getting a makeover, as a groundbreaking ceremony took place Wednesday afternoon to get the ball rolling on the roughly $5 million capital improvement project.

The project is also connected to Rivier’s launch of a new Sport Management bachelor’s degree program, which is located in the division of Business. University President Sister Paula Marie Buley said this is a recognition that New England is a prominent region for sport economics.

“When you think Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox and Patriots – then you take college and university athletics – and then you take the advantages Nashua has and the Manchester area with the Fisher Cats and Monarchs, so, at every level in this region, there’s opportunity to apply business marketing and finance principles,” Buley said.

“What we will have is a move from students playing on a field to our student-athletes actually playing in a stadium environment,” Buley added. “We hope for completion in the spring of 2019.”

The plan includes multiple components. The first is a building with four locker rooms, a training room, officials’ room, equipment storage and public bathroom facilities. There will also be stadium seating for approximately 300 fans.

Additionally, there will be a tunnel leading through the athletics pavilion to the field. The project also includes enhancements to the Raider Diamond softball field, including dugouts, a press box and fan seating.

The fourth part of the project deals with landscape enhancement, parking and handicap accessibility and a new road linking Muldoon Fitness Center parking with parking in the Sylvia Trottier Hall lot.

The ceremonial groundbreaking brought students, as well as campus and city officials, together to celebrate. The new field will be used for men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s lacrosse, field hockey, intramural play and then women’s softball up at the diamond.

The athletic field is used by more than just university students, as a number of community groups use it.

“It will just be an asset to the Greater Nashua community,” Buley added.

Athletic Director Joanne Merrill said university is putting its money to good use with this new project. She said sometimes athletics are the only reason people even know of a university.

“Welcome to the new front porch to all of you, to all of the Rivier community, to faculty, staff, parents, friends, trustees, alumni, so welcome to the new front porch,” Merrill said.

She said with the addition of the Raider Pavilion and the Raider Diamond, the experience of all university athletes will be better.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.