Last December, the University unveiled plans to construct a softball stadium for the women’s varsity softball team at Lambeth Field. Following the announcement, students and local residents about being excluded by the University from the planning process. Students and local residents are particularly concerned by the potential impacts of noise, light and community space. In response, the University has begun to take the proper measures needed to ensure these concerns are considered before moving forward with its plans to disrupt an established community.
University students living in the Lambeth Field Apartments have expressed frustration with the potential implications of constructing a stadium at Lambeth Field. One of the most worrying concerns is the loss of student community space. Lambeth Field offers a unique recreational space for nearly 1,000 students and other communities, and provides these communities common ground on which to interact and connect. The space also provides the opportunity for students and local residents to play sports and engage in outdoor activities, unbothered by the outside world. Moreover, the construction of the stadium will entail long periods of heavy construction, which often brings its own issues.
The University has been steadfast in to respond to these concerns before moving forward with the proposal. However, the fact that the University did not consult these communities from the start is irresponsible. The main criticism from residents and students comes from the fact that they were blindsided by the sudden plan to build the stadium. Therefore, the University needs to ensure students and residents living near the proposed stadium are properly included in future discussions regarding the stadium’s construction. Moreover, given Lambeth Field’s value to students and Charlottesville residents, the University should continue to actively seek alternative site locations.
Lambeth Field is a recreational area valued and cherished by both University students and Charlottesville residents alike. Erecting a stadium on the field will undoubtedly disrupt the current lifestyle of a significant number of University students and local residents. It is important clear and strong communication is maintained by the University throughout this whole process, and residents should continue to make their voices heard. Going forward, the University should be more conscientious of the communities impacted by its decisions.