Alfred University breaks ground on Saxon Hill Sports Complex

A groundbreaking event was held last week for the new complex atop Jericho Hill in Alfred NY

From Alfred University,

ALFRED, NY – Alfred University hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday afternoon for a new athletic complex near campus that will boost student enrollment, enhance intercollegiate athletics offerings and provide new recreational opportunities for the university and local communities.

Members of the university’s Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, coaches and student-athletes attended the groundbreaking of the Saxon Hill Sports Complex, a multi-field facility located on 200 acres atop Jericho Hill south of campus. Construction on the $30 million project, funded through a combination of bond issues and more than $10 million in philanthropic donations, will begin this summer and be completed in fall 2025.

Shown shoveling dirt during the ceremony are, from left to right: Steve Heine ”81 (Vice Chairman, Alfred University Board of Trustees); Robin Mazejka, vice president, philanthropic relations; Greg Connors ”92 (trustee, former chairman of the Board of Trustees); Marlin Miller ’54, HD ’89, ’19 (Board Chair Emeritus), Carolyn Clark ”90 (Board of Trustees Chair); Mark Zupan, university president; Deb Steward, associate vice president for Student Experience, Athletics and Recreation; and John Crisafulli and Kristina Krzyzanowski of Field of Dreams in Olean, representing Nick Ferreri ’64 (a lead donor for the project).

LeChase Construction, Rochester, is the general contractor for the Saxon Hill project, while Olean-based architectural firm Clark, Patterson & Lee (CPL) is providing design services. Once completed the complex will consist of:

  • Saxon sports center: lockers; athletic training room; offices; gathering space where alumni and parents/families can gather for tailgate functions; Toilets; media room.
  • Baseball field: illuminated artificial grass field with scoreboard; bullpens and dugouts. A two-story press box houses restrooms, a concession stand, a team area, a public address system and space for game operations.
  • Athletics facilities: 400-meter illuminated roller coaster with jumping and throwing areas; video scoreboard. The track’s infield will be a multi-use artificial turf field that will be used as a home base for the future intercollegiate hockey team and as a practice facility for other outdoor sports teams.
  • Rugby field: illuminated, natural grass field with scoreboard. The women’s and men’s rugby teams currently operate as club teams. The women’s team will play as an intercollegiate team this fall; the men’s team will transition to an intercollegiate program when the Saxon Hill facility is completed.
  • Bleachers: One set of stands will overlook the track and multi-use field, the other will overlook the rugby field. There is a double-sided press box with Public Address and game operations booths for each game location.
  • Five parking spaces with approximately 435 parking spaces.

“This is the single largest investment in athletics at Alfred University,” said Mark Zupan, university president. “Given the challenges facing higher education, this presents us with strong headwinds.”

The project is expected to be a boon to student recruitment and retention. The university estimates that enrollment will increase by approximately 170 in the first six years after opening. Once completed, Saxon Hill will complement the nearby existing sports and recreational facilities in the area atop Jericho Hill. These include the Bromeley-Daggett Equestrian Center at Maris Cuneo Equine Park, home to Alfred University’s world-class equestrian program, and Foster Lake, which offers the campus community numerous recreational and co-curricular opportunities.

“What an exciting day for Alfred University and the community,” noted Carolyn Clark ’90, chair of the university’s Board of Trustees, who was a star player on the Saxons women’s soccer team in the late 1980s. She recalled practicing and playing on a field on Jericho Hill and wondering “why I came here to play on such a grass field… To see this (Saxon Hill project) is a dream come true.”

Carolyn Clark ’90, chair of the Alfred University Board of Trustees, delivers remarks Thursday during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Saxon Hill Sports Complex.

“You can’t say enough about the passion of our administrators and their dedication to our students,” Clark said. “It is exciting to see what adding 170 students will mean for our university.”

The grass pitch just off County Road 12 in the town of Alfred has for many years been used mainly by the Alfred club rugby team, while an adjacent field is used as a practice facility for the football team. The new fields will not only serve as a host venue for the Saxony men’s and women’s rugby teams, the men’s and women’s cross country and outdoor track and field teams, and the baseball team, but will also provide new practice space for the teams that currently have to share the fields. facilities on Merrill Field’s Yunevich Stadium campus. Members of these teams – football, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s lacrosse – often practice in the early morning, before class, or late in the evening.

“This is critical to taking the pressure off Merrill Field teams,” said Deb Steward, associate vice president for Student Experience, Athletics and Recreation. She estimates that 400 student-athletes competing on intercollegiate varsity teams, as well as those playing on club and intramural teams, will use the Saxon Hill facility.

Steward thanked those who helped make the project a reality, including the coaches and athletics staff who provided valuable input and suggestions. “Teamwork makes the dream work,” she said.

Two student-athletes, baseball player Quinton Jordan and women’s rugby player Samantha Stuck, spoke about their appreciation for the university’s investment in Saxon Hill.

“We are eagerly looking forward to throwing out that first pitch,” said Jordan, a senior from Olean, NY. “We are grateful for this wonderful experience. Thank you for your vision and support.”

“I have never been more proud to be part of a team,” added Stock, a freshman from Ellicottville, NY. “I speak on behalf of all our teams when I say thank you.”

Erin Martinovich, vice president for Advancement, thanked the donors, many of whom are members of the Board of Trustees, for their generosity in helping the university meet the Trustees’ requirement for an initial philanthropic investment of $10 million. Lead donors include Board of Trustees members Clark, Russ Cesari ’67, Greg Connors ’92 (former Board Chairman), Terry Galanis, Steve Heine ’81 (Board Vice Chairman), Charlie Joyce (Life Trustee), Kevin Livingston ’93, and Marlin Miller ’54, HD ’89 and ’19 (chairman emeritus). Major alumni donors include Nick Ferreri ’64, Rick ’75 and Mena ’73 Hansinger, Mark Mertel ’67, and the late Susan and Lane Ehmke (both 1968 graduates).

Zupan mentioned the joint effort to bring the project to fruition. “I have been part of many teams in my life. This is the best management team and the best broader team I have been part of,” he said.

“Our most important thing at Alfred University is the student experience,” Zupan said as he offered a champagne toast before the ceremonial groundbreaking. “Thank you to everyone who made this a reality. It’s about the student experience.”