The University of Texas at Austin
  • Prominent alumni drive Clark Field’s renovation

    By Jennifer Speer, Division of Recreational Sports
    Published: Nov. 16, 2011

    University of Texas at Austin students are now able to enjoy club and intramural sports on a newly renovated Clark Field, thanks to a plan created by and leadership commitments from two Houston families with strong ties to the university.

    Rendering of an overhead view of Caven Lacrosse and Sports Center at Clark Field

    Rendering of the new Caven Lacrosse and Sports Center at Clark Field.Credit: PSA Dewberry

    Former chairman of the University of Texas System Board of Regents and university alumni H. Scott Caven Jr. and his wife Vivien made the first significant gift to launch the renovation of Clark Field. Their desire to upgrade the field, make it accessible to more students and redevelop it to accommodate lacrosse club sports was done in memory of their son, Scotty Caven, a Plan II Honors student whose athletic passion was lacrosse, and in honor of the many Caven family members who have been involved with the university for more than 90 years. In recognition of the Cavens’ dedication and leadership, along with their steadfast support for the game of lacrosse, Clark Field has been renamed the Caven Lacrosse and Sports Center at Clark Field.

    “This day is special for my family and me as we help create a permanent home for men’s and women’s lacrosse. I am honored that through the generosity of many contributors, UT students will enjoy the wonderful experiences that many of us alumni had, participating in a variety of sports on this historic field in the heart of campus,” Caven said.

    The other major commitment to the Clark Field renovation came from university alumni Gary and Sylvie Crum, who have long provided generous financial support of women’s athletics, the McCombs School of Business, the Division of Recreational Sports and the Texas Exes, among other schools and divisions at the university. The Crums’ daughter, Clayton, is a co-captain of the women’s lacrosse team.

    Rendering of a track view of Caven Lacrosse and Sports Center at Clark Field

    Rendering of the new Caven Lacrosse and Sports Center at Clark Field.Credit: PSA Dewberry

    “The extraordinary vision and generosity demonstrated by the Cavens and Crums allowed this project to move forward quickly,” said President Bill Powers. “Thanks to them and other generous supporters, our students will be able to enjoy a first-class lacrosse and sports facility for years to come.”

    The $4 million Clark Field renovation was made possible through $3 million in private gifts and $1 million from the Division of Recreational Sports. Construction began July 18. Fundraising efforts are continuing as the project nears completion. Located west of San Jacinto Boulevard and south of East 21st Street, the renovated field will feature a synthetic turf playing surface, a refurbished track, new exercise stations and a new pedestrian bridge across Waller Creek.

    In addition to serving as a championship-quality lacrosse venue for the men’s and women’s lacrosse clubs, the facility will continue to serve the dedicated cadre of students who enjoy jogging, walking and working out in this great outdoor space. As the last green space on campus, the Caven Lacrosse and Sports Center at Clark Field will provide students new recreational opportunities in an enriched outdoor setting.

    The upgraded facility was dedicated on Friday, Nov. 18, at a grand opening hosted by President Bill Powers. Immediately following the formal dedication ceremony, the men’s and women’s lacrosse clubs held a brief intrasquad scrimmage.

    • Quote 2
      Clemente Solis '07 said on Dec. 10, 2011 at 9:53 a.m.
      I was saddened to hear that the field would be replaced with artificial turf but I do appreciate the support that was given to foster student life. I have many fond memories of Clark Field from my years at UT, and though I would have preferred the renovations to keep natural grass, I'm sure the students in the years to come will continue to have equally fond memories...though less muddy ones.
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      Cary Michael Cox said on Dec. 7, 2011 at 1:25 p.m.
      Back in the eighties there were some outdoor basketball courts there. During the summer we played for hours. Lucky to have great alumni and donors for our wonderful campus. Hook 'Em!
    • Quote 2
      Bill Deneke said on Dec. 5, 2011 at 11:49 a.m.
      What a great gift for the university and as a memorial!
    • Quote 2
      Mallika said on Dec. 4, 2011 at 3:29 a.m.
      I remember the field and the creek (and the fruit-bearing mulberry trees - all gone, I presume). It looks nice now (in the picture), but I liked the old one, too.
    • Quote 2
      Gary said on Dec. 3, 2011 at 9:33 a.m.
      This Clark Field is not the same as the old Clark Field baseball stadium. That Clark Field stood where the Performing Arts Center stands now, just north of Memorial Stadium. The Burleson Bells sit on what used to be Billy Goat Hill in center field. THIS Clark Field is located just west of Memorial Stadium between Waller Creek and the San Jacinto dormitory. The renovation looks beautiful and although real grass would have been great, the upkeep for real grass is tough on such a heavily used surface. PS - This turf is much better than the ancient astroturf that shortened Andre Dawson's career!
    • Quote 2
      Tim Prater said on Dec. 1, 2011 at 8:08 p.m.
      My, it looks so...artificial.
    • Quote 2
      Edward Southerland said on Dec. 1, 2011 at 4:12 p.m.
      Clark Field can't be brought back. It was a rickety 1920's ballpark with Billy Goat HIll in dead center and more history, nostalgia, and character that almost any place on the 40 Acres. If you really want to do something significant, rebuilt that.
    • Quote 2
      Jack said on Dec. 1, 2011 at 1:16 p.m.
      It's nice to see that old Clark Field is still there; I thought it had been swallowed by campus expansion. Congratulations on the renovation, and thanks to those who made it possible. I remember playing some high school baseball games at Clark, with its limestone formations in center and left field. It was unique. I assume these formations are still there, but the photos don't show them. Please add my name to those who prefer grass to a rug as a playing surface. A strong case can be made that there are more, not less, injuries on these surfaces. I remember that all-star outfielder Andre Dawson volunteered to be traded from Montreal (astro-turf) to the Chicago Cubs (Wrigley Field grass) because his knees were increasingly punished by the artificial turf. Dawson extended his career by this move. I will stand by for condemnation by those who love "turf". Best wishes.
    • Quote 2
      Rae said on Dec. 1, 2011 at 9:46 a.m.
      The synthetic turf playing surface installed in the renovated Clark field is comprised of lead free and 100% re-recyclable tires that were removed from landfill sites. In other words: when the field is removed or replaced it is 100% recyclable. Since it is not grass not only does it save clean drinking water, but also eliminates the use of billions of pounds of harmful pesticides, fertilizers, fungicides and herbicides, used on natural grass, that can run off into ground water.
    • Quote 2
      Marci said on Dec. 1, 2011 at 8:19 a.m.
      We are so fortunate to have the continued support of alumni and parents to make something like the Caven Lacrosse and Sports Center at Clark Field possible! Our highly competitive lacrosse teams now have a wonderful home, and students can come and watch and also enjoy the amenities of the facility with games of their own. Hook 'Em
    • Quote 2
      Andie said on Dec. 1, 2011 at 6:56 a.m.
      What a wonderful way for Scotty's parents to honor his memory. I still remember hearing of their loss and have never been able to forget it. Thank you to the Cavens and the Crums. I used the track every night and your donation will allow others to enjoy the area
    • Quote 2
      Tyler said on Nov. 21, 2011 at 12:25 p.m.
      Clark field really needed a renovation. Although the track was ok, there was not adequate lighting and the field was always horrible. So many people use the field that it often would have huge mud areas. Additionally, it was never even causing numerous sprained ankles. I'm glad there is turf now. We can enjoy the field for many years to come.
    • Quote 2
      Mike said on Nov. 18, 2011 at 12:04 p.m.
      It's kind of sad that with a generous 4 million dollar donation to complete this facility, you still find a way to complain. Jason, the effort to maintain and level a grass field over the next 15-30 years will come at great expense (namely man hours, fertilizer and irrigation). Do you want your tuition raised again to grow some grass? A turf field is safer (fewer twisted ankles), drains better, and provides a low cost surface for the primary purpose of the space-- sports. If you want grass, go to Whitaker Fields, or Mueller, or town lake, or a city park. Even with the turf, Caven is a very green space.
    • Quote 2
      Jason said on Nov. 18, 2011 at 10:25 a.m.
      It's kind of sad to see this 'green space' made into a turf field.
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