Giving to Brown

New Energy at Brown's Sports Complex


Shannon McSweeney '15, field hockey co-captain and engineering concentrator, at the new Goldberger Family Field.

A year after completion, new facilities offer a transformed athletics experience

To say that it was time for a new field-hockey field would be an understatement.

Before the Goldberger Family Field—one of several new athletics facilities—was completed in September 2012, women’s field hockey at Brown took place on an undersized and outdated artificial turf field located on the roof of the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center. Goalie Shannon McSweeney ’15 describes the consequences: “Schools didn’t want to come play us,” she recalls. “It wasn't even regulation size, and it was so slow. But the worst thing was that fans could get hurt by balls bouncing off the walls.”

It's really making a huge mark for Brown sportsthere's nothing to compare it to.
—Shannon McSweeney '15

Mike McCormick, assistant vice president for planning, design and construction, explains that the geographic constraints of the sports complex, along with Brown’s high rate of student participation in sports, have historically forced some unusual decisions. “We’re trying to do an awful lot in not very much space,” he says. “So that’s how we ended up with a field on the roof. I’m sure it was a good idea back then.”

A year after joyfully settling into its new quarters, women’s field hockey is thriving on the ground-level Goldberger field. Funded by anonymous donors, the field is dedicated to Michael “Goldie” Goldberger, whose 38 years of service to Brown included positions as coach, director of admission, and director of athletics.

The new field is “getting a ton of use,” reports Shannon, including two spring tourneys at home and multiple US Field Hockey events. “It’s really making a huge mark for Brown sports in general. The AstroTurf surface is so fast. Kids come here and it’s amazing—there’s nothing to compare it to.”

Davies Bisset ’85, Executive Director of the Brown University Sports Foundation, says his organization, which raises money for Brown's althletics programs, isn't resting on its laurels. More donor-funded improvements are in the planning stages: “Among them are a new Sailing Center in Edgewood for the nationally-ranked Brown Sailing Team, a new dock and facility upgrade for Brown men’s and women’s crew, and new locker rooms and training center for men’s and women’s lacrosse. We also hope to completely revamp the northwest corner of Aldrich-Dexter Field to level the ground and construct a new baseball stadium and a new softball stadium, as well as upgrade a grass practice field."

Other projects on the horizon include a new varsity squash facility to replace the eight courts lost from the former Smith Swim Center, an expansion of the outdoor track at Brown Stadium, and much-needed improvements to the football locker room, offices and stadium. "We are so thankful to the generous donors, both alumni and parents, who make these projects possible," says Bisset. "We have big aspirations.”

Shannon, in the meantime, is just enjoying the here and now: “The sense of accomplishment from playing a sport is huge. We’ve all improved so much, and we have the potential to get better; I can't thank the donors enough for inspiring us to meet the challenge of these amazing new facilities.”

It all adds up to a very different scene off Hope Street than Shannon found when she first arrived at Brown. “The atmosphere has changed so much in this area—it’s so energetic, so busy on weekends with everyone walking by,” Shannon says. “There’s so much more life here now.”

More information about upcoming improvements and the importance of athletics to University life can be found here. Check back often as priorities evolve!