The Alfred University Board of Trustees this week unanimously approved a $30 million athletics and recreation facility atop Jericho Hill in the town of Alfred. Construction of the Saxon Hill Sports Complex is expected to begin in the spring of 2024 and be completed by the fall of 2025.
Saxon Hill, built on 200 acres of land about three miles south of campus, will expand Alfred University’s intercollegiate athletics offerings, significantly increasing student enrollment and supporting student retention efforts. The project will go out to bid over the winter, with bids being awarded in the spring. Construction will begin soon after and take approximately 16 months to complete.
“Alfred University is grateful for the support our Board of Trustees and our generous donors have shown for the Saxon Hill Sports Complex,” said Mark Zupan, University president. “Once completed, this project will enhance our intercollegiate athletics and extracurricular offerings and help us attract and retain students.”
Much of the project cost will be supported by philanthropy. Deb Steward, associate vice president for Student Experience, Athletics and Recreation, said the University has met a Board of Trustees requirement of an initial philanthropic investment of $10 million. “We are grateful for the support of our lead donors who have put us over the threshold which allows us to move forward with the project,” Steward said.
The architectural firm of Clark, Patterson and Lee (CPL), with architects from their Olean, NY, office, provided design services for the Saxon Hill Sports Complex. Athletics Department staff—including coaches and administrators—had input on project details.
Saxon Hill will be located on approximately 200 acres, although only 41 acres (including the currently mowed fields) will be physically disturbed. Once completed, the complex will include:
- Saxon Sports Center: home and visitor locker rooms; athletic training room; offices; assembly space where alumni, parents/families can gather for tailgate functions; restrooms; media room.
- Baseball field: lighted, synthetic turf field with scoreboard; bullpens and dugouts. A two-tier press box will have restrooms, a concession stand, and team room on the first floor; the second floor will include game day operations and public address space, coaches’ offices, and a media/meeting room. The Saxon intercollegiate baseball team will begin play next spring, playing home games at local ballparks until the Saxon Hill field is ready for use for the spring 2026 season.
- Track and field facilities: lighted 400-meter eight-lane track with jump and throw areas; video scoreboard. The infield of the track will be a multi-purpose synthetic turf field which will be used as the home to the future intercollegiate field hockey team (anticipated to begin competition in fall 2025) and as a practice facility for football, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s soccer.
- Rugby field: lighted, natural grass field with scoreboard. The women’s rugby team will celebrate its inaugural season as an intercollegiate sport in 2024-25 and the men’s rugby team will also be housed under the athletic department. Currently, both women’s and men’s rugby teams have re-ignited as club teams.
- Dual two-tier press box: One side faces the track and multi-purpose field, the other faces the rugby field. The first floor will house concessions and restrooms; the second floor will include a press box and VIP suite. Grandstand seating will be available for each venue.
- Five parking lots with 435 parking spaces.
An existing cross country course—which has been used primarily for training but has hosted competitive meets—will be retained and used for practices and competitions.
The Saxon Hill Sports Complex is expected to be a boon for student-athlete recruitment. The University estimates the project will increase new student enrollment by approximately 170 in the first six years of its opening. “We are already starting to build energy around the project,” Steward said, noting that coaches are using architectural renderings and project descriptions on recruiting visits.
“Many prospective student-athletes have these types of facilities at their high schools,” she noted. “This demonstrates to our recruits that athletics is an integral part of Alfred University. This facility will also compare with our opponents’ facilities, allowing us to be more competitive in the recruiting process while also providing our students with facilities that fill them with a sense of pride.”
Steward noted that Saxon Hill will provide a better quality of experience for student-athletes and athletics staff as there will be less early morning and late-night practices. Student recruitment will be further enhanced by Saxon Hill hosting sports camps and clinics for high school students.
The facility will be a resource not only to the University’s Athletics Department, but to the entire campus and Alfred community at large. Steward pointed to expectations that Saxon Hill will facilitate growth in the University’s club and intramural offerings, which will further aid in student recruitment and retention efforts. “This sports complex will make those programs much more robust,” she said.
Saxon Hill, Steward noted, will reflect Alfred University’s mission of helping students find their purpose. “We want our students to be the very best they can be, and we are helping them by providing the finest possible facilities, as well as the support personnel needed to help mentor and engage them.”
Once completed, Saxon Hill will complement nearby existing sports and recreational facilities located 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 provides the campus community with numerous recreational and co-curricular opportunities.