|This is a press release from the University of Southern Mis
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Recreational Sports is excited to announce the renovation of Pride Field, which features an artificial turf ground covering. The 110-yard-by-110-yard field is the only artificial turf student recreation and band practice complex in Mississippi.
The decision to renovate Pride Field came after listening to student feedback and finding a solution to revitalize a nearly unusable field space.
For decades, Pride Field has been used throughout the years by intramural programs and the “Pride of Mississippi” marching band. With the new renovation, the field now boasts an artificial turf with cooling and draining technologies that will make it more accommodating for future use, including reducing delays following inclement weather and providing a safe and durable playing surface for the University community to enjoy.
The field also features a brick retaining wall and wrought iron fence with brick columns around the perimeter to aid with aesthetics and maintenance. Permanent lines are painted on the field to create two 80-yard regulation-sized flag football fields and 100-yards of a regular football field, which can be used for open recreation activities and band rehearsals.
A newly constructed 34-foot-tall brick tower sits at the front of the field and features a steel tower with two observation/teaching decks. The 1,600-square-foot tower includes space to house instrument storage for the band as well as equipment for the Department of Recreational Sports, a built-in speaker system, electricity, water fountain and restrooms.
The renovated 2-acre field will continue to be used for intramural and club sporting events as well as the award-winning “Pride of Mississippi” marching band. As in previous years when there are no scheduled activities, Pride Field will be open to students and Payne Center members for open recreation play during regularly scheduled Payne Center hours. Access to the field with a USM student ID or Payne Center ID will be managed by the Department of Recreational Sports.
“The Pride of Mississippi is fortunate to have the strong support of The University of Southern Mississippi. The upgraded rehearsal space represents a significant investment in the organization and will provide a safer and more usable space for the band to use for many years to come, said Dr. Colin McKenzie, Associate Director of Southern Miss Bands. “The field and rehearsal tower will be a huge benefit to our students and will assist them in attaining new heights in performance so that we can, at all times, represent the best of what it is to be a Golden Eagle. I, personally, cannot wait to bring prospective students to the facility to observe a rehearsal — no prospective student in the state or region will find a better facility to call home.”
Mark Crager, Southern Miss director of recreational sports, noted: “The most exciting part of this project will be providing a durable, safe and top quality field for our students, faculty/staff and Payne Center members. Allowing them the opportunity to recreate on a professional grade surface will hopefully increase the focus and enthusiasm towards physical fitness through sport and exercise.”
The Department of Recreational Sports and the School of Music will host a grand opening of the new facility next month.