by C. GARRETT KEIDEL, Asst. Sports Editor
Construction for the brand new Gaelic Park Athletic Center Project (GPAC Project) has been well underway during the summer months. Its goal is to improve the overall athletic experience here at Manhattan College for the home athletes as well as for those coming from other colleges.
The GPAC Project brings much-needed additions and updates to Gaelic Park. New coaches’ locker rooms, five individual team locker rooms, an athletic training room, coaches’ offices and a lounge are all part of the plans to help aid and improve athletes’ experience during their time here at the College.
Marianne Reilly, ‘82, is in her third year as the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at MC, and is now overseeing the third major facilities project as well. A new turf field at Gaelic Park along with the updates made to Draddy Gymnasium have been completed over the last two years, with the most recent addition being the new GPAC Project.
“The name GPAC (Gaelic Park Athletic Center), as a name, encompasses everything that it will have to offer,” said Reilly. “Coaches’ locker rooms are included. The five field teams that play in Gaelic Park will each have their own locker room, which probably the first time in the history of their programs that they have a place to call home. And there will also be a lounge or common area with a computer bar. That way folks can log in and do some work there while waiting for a team meeting starts. It will look very similar to the way Kelly Commons looks downstairs.”
The project is allowing athletes to have more access to basic needs and things that make their life easier.
“The project started last year with the two locker rooms located at Gaelic Park,” said Reilly. “We upgraded them a little bit. Just gave them a bit of a face lift, but they still weren’t meeting the needs of the teams. And then we had either no place to put visiting teams, or would put them in the other one. We do service a large number of student athletes, and we had to recognize that they do need a place just for hygiene, to change, to shower before they go to class, to store their equipment, so they aren’t bringing these things and dirty clothes into classrooms,” said Reilly.
The new location allows for many teams to build relationships and comradery that go beyond playing on the same field. There are currently only two locker rooms at Gaelic Park, with these additional locker rooms, teams can be together building supportive relationships throughout the program.
“This project is going to be great,” said sophomore lacrosse player, Sean Mackinney. “The training room is going to be awesome along with the new locker rooms where we can actually be a team together. We’ll also be able to build more comradery.”
“The facility represents a strong step forward in our continuing efforts to increase support for our outdoor sports, and I am confident that alumni of these sports, parents of our student-athletes, and friends of the athletic program will want to support these improvements,” says Dr. Richard Satterlee, Vice President for Student Life, according to Go Jaspers.
The $1.5 million privately funded project was originally planned to be open this September for the beginning of the fall sports season, but is now scheduled to open this October. This new space will be located nearby Gaelic Park across from Leo Hall.