JMU plans significant expansions to Sentara Park complex

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — James Madison University is planning a major expansion for Sentara Park.

Sentara Park, located on the corner of Neff Avenue and Port Republic Road in Harrisonburg, is the home to JMU lacrosse, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, track and field and cross country. It's also home to Harrisonburg's annual City-County track meet for area high schoolers, among other local events.

James Madison Athletics says they've entered formal planning stages with Moseley Architects for a project at the complex "to enhance the game day experience of its student-athletes and guests with the addition of locker rooms, concessions and other areas of need. "

The project is tentatively slated to begin construction in October of 2020 and to be completed by summer of 2021 in time for fall competition.

It was made possible with a $1 million donation from an anonymous donor.

JMU Athletics says the expansion will include a pair of stand-alone buildings bookending the main grandstand.

Building one, closest to Kelsey Lane, encompasses 2,400 square feet and includes a visiting team locker room, showers and restroom as well as a concessions area for guests and needed storage space for Athletics.

Currently, concessions and storage operate out of temporary structures.

Building two, closest to Neff Avenue, includes a locker room, coaches meeting room, showers and restroom for the home team as well as a sports medicine suite.

“We are extremely appreciative for the private support that allowed this project to move from vision to reality,” Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne said. “We continue to prioritize the experience of our student-athletes across all sports, and this expansion will significantly impact the game day environment for the impacted sports.”

Permanent locker rooms for all sport programs competing at Sentara are located in Godwin Hall. Currently, all pre-event and post-event locker room activities occur in Godwin, requiring transportation of athletes between facilities. Pregame, postgame and halftime meetings currently happen in scaled-down team areas. The addition will also benefit opposing teams, expediting postgame exit from campus and saving valuable time for return to their institutions.

The Sentara Park complex debuted in the fall of 2012 as University Park, and the athletics portion was renamed in 2016 as part of the university’s first corporate naming partnership with Sentara Healthcare. In addition to the planned upgrades, during the fall of 2019, JMU replaced the original synthetic training surface at Sentara Park.