By Brendan Rose
The athletic fields at Purchase are the pride of the Athletics department, with the school’s teams and outside athletic organizations making regular use of them, bringing hundreds of people to campus.
These state-of-the art facilities fall short in one key aspect though–there are no permanent restrooms available, and participants and spectators are forced to use poorly maintained portable toilets. While a nuisance to all visitors and athletes, the conditions affect women and parents with younger children the most.
“It is embarrassing,” said Amber Yarter, a senior soccer player at Purchase.
Chris Bisignano the Purchase College Athletics director acknowledges the problems with the facilities, “No I don't think are up to snuff,” he said. “To have porta-johns out there is not the way I like to do business.” The Athletics department is trying to remedy the situation, and is in the process of soliciting bids for the construction of permanent restrooms adjacent to the fields. The hope is that the job will be completed by June of this year.
In the meantime, Panthers athletes and fans must still rely on substandard facilities.“It’s your last resort,” said Brianna Pirozzi, a junior soccer player. “Even my parents have said they didn't want to use the porta-potty, so they came back to my apartment; because I would do the same thing.”
The three fields -- two soccer and a baseball field -- are currently only supported by a single portable toilet. As of Feb. 17, the toilet was almost completely full. The seat was covered in urine and bits of feces and there was trash on the floor. The service record tacked on the inside of the door indicated that the cabin had last been serviced a week before. At the bottom of the sign, a disclaimer states, “This rental includes complete servicing. Excessive use will result in unsatisfactory conditions before the next regular servicing.”
Events like youth lacrosse camps bring over 300 people to the fields at one time, with only a few toilets to support the event, according to Michael McCall, the director of the Predators Lacrosse club. During the peak season in the spring and summer, multiple events of this size will be held every week.
McCall wishes the bathrooms were better. He wishes that the bathrooms were cleaned more regularly and more bathrooms were added during the peak season. McCall expressed specific concern for parents of young children. “If my wife and I were taking our daughter to the facility we would have concerns about the cleanliness of the porta-johns,” he said.
The Athletics department's proposal promises permanent structures housing water-less bathrooms to be built adjacent to the fields. The proposed facilities will store the waste in a concrete vault underneath the structure. This would be a cheaper and more realistic option to extending plumbing out to the site, according to Bisignano. The Athletics director said the current proposal is estimated to cost $70,000 to $80,000.
The money for the project will come from a grant given to the school by Future Stars Summer Camps, a youth sports organization that uses the athletic fields over the summer. Bisignano hopes that the grant will cover the entire cost of the project saving the school from finding scarce dollars from its budget. Bisignano lauded the grant, saying, “it’s a great partnership. It's a win-win”
Bisignano concluded by saying,“I feel confident that we have, for the time being, remedied our needs for that particular area.”