Construction on the Carol Roberts Field House, a new facility dedicated to Yale’s softball and field hockey teams, will begin in the coming months after a $3 million lead gift from Carol Roberts ’81.
The complex is the first athletic building at Yale dedicated exclusively to women’s sports teams. The 5,900-square-foot building, located between Johnson Field and DeWitt Family Field, will include home and visitor locker rooms, a training room, additional office space for coaches, a team meeting space and an observation roof deck with a glass-walled events space for alumni.
“We are proud that the women and men behind these two programs have stepped forward to make this facility a reality,” said director of athletic development and external communications Victoria Untiet. “It will become the home for field hockey and softball and will transform the daily life of our student-athletes.”
The Athletic Department has selected an architect for the project, and according to Untiet, construction is set to begin later this spring. The Carol Roberts Field House will be completed by the 2018 softball season.
Fundraising efforts for the field house are still ongoing. The Athletic Department is aiming to complete the fundraising process by June, Untiet said. The University is seeking donations of $100,000 or more for 10 different components of the facility, led by the rooftop alumni room, which requires a $1 million gift. The whole project — the initial donation plus requested gifts — totals $6 million.
As an undergraduate, Roberts was a member of both the softball and field hockey teams. After graduating from Yale, she spent 36 years working at International Paper in Memphis, where she served as Chief Financial Officer between 2011 and 2016 before her retirement at the beginning of this year.
Roberts is a co-founder and board member of the Women’s Intercollegiate Sports Endowment and Resource, a fund dedicated to supporting women’s varsity programs at Yale. She is also on the board of the Yale Field Hockey Association and was a recipient of the Athletic Department’s George H.W. Bush ’48 Leadership Award in 2009.
In addition to facilities for the field hockey and softball teams, the field house includes several amenities for softball and field hockey fans, including concessions stands, public restrooms and a ticket office. It is situated directly between the teams’ two fields, and the second-floor viewing deck will offer views of both.
“The whole field house for our team is a really big deal and something that will benefit our program for many years to come,” softball pitcher Francesca Casalino ’18 said. “It means a lot for our team that we have our own place that we can call home.”
Casalino said the facility’s media room and training resources are especially important benefits for the softball team. In addition, she said the proximity of the field house to Johnson Field will help the team’s mental preparation before games.
According to outfielder Rachel Paris ’17, the softball team must currently carry their equipment for over 10 minutes between the team’s current training facility and DeWitt Family Field for practices and games. The new facility will make transitions to practices and games more convenient for student-athletes.
“I think this new facility shows just how far these smaller women’s teams have come,” Paris said. “Softball and field hockey, as well as most of the other women’s programs, are relatively young sports compared to the illustrious history of our men’s teams, and this facility is a testament to the growth of collegiate women’s sports as a whole.”
Yale is currently working on construction for the Yale Golf Course Learning Center and Driving Range.