CLARK, NJ — Union County freeholders recently joined with members of the Union County Improvement Authority, Union County College, Clark residents and officials in cutting the ribbon at the new Oak Ridge Park Athletic Field.
“This magnificent facility now takes its place as one of the top-notch recreational fields in the state,” said Freeholder Chairperson Alexander Mirabella. “Union County is highly regarded for its award-winning parks system, and the Oak Ridge Park Athletic Field is a great new attraction for our residents and student-athletes to enjoy.”
Union County Improvement Authority project manager Bibi Taylor stated: “The authority is pleased to complete another high-quality project on behalf of the freeholder board for Union County residents. It is our fervent hope that the Oak Ridge Athletic Field will provide decades of enjoyment and usage for our residents at every stage of life.”
Union County College teams and athletes will use the facility for soccer and lacrosse games, and track-and-field meets and practices. The facility is also open through the County Parks Department to the public and schools and organizations for the same usage.
“The college’s athletic teams have struggled without a home field for many years. Frankly, it’s a social justice issue when poorer community college students don’t have the decent and safe facilities that wealthier college students take for granted,’’ said Union County College President Margaret McMenamin. “So we are pleased to partner with the county on this endeavor. Our soccer, lacrosse and track athletes need to compete on a modern, safe, state-of-the-art field. This includes our nationally recognized women’s soccer team that finished the 2018 season ranked third in the nation at the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament. We thank the county for helping us to meet this need for our outstanding and grateful scholar-athletes.”
The field, which was a project of the Union County Improvement Authority, is uniquely built in a “sunken bowl” atop a perch that offers attendees in the bleachers a vista of the park and the Watchung Mountains.
Among the field’s features is an Olympic-specification, eight-lane track, which is considered to be the best in the county and can be used for Division I athletic competition. The field, which has lighting for night competition, is also equipped for hammer throw, discus, high jump and pole vault competitions, and contains a full-size soccer/lacrosse field. The bleachers can accommodate as many as 800 fans and include a press box.
The stone-based, cedar-sided, 3,000-square-foot field house contains locker rooms for teams, which include showers and bathrooms. There is also a concession area and public restrooms.
The 12-acre site also has 120 parking spaces and an underground stormwater detention area.
Pinnacle Consulting & Construction Services of Newark provided construction management. Design consultants included Neglia Engineering Associates of Mountainside for the athletic field and Netta Architects of Mountainside for the field house. The general contractor for the project was Grade Construction of Paterson.