Duke lays foundation stone for Jim Sabiston Field House

DURHAM – Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium, home of the Duke field hockey program, will look very different when the Blue Devils hit the turf next fall.

Thanks to the generosity of Duke field hockey supporters and a donation from Susan and Jim Sabiston, Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium is undergoing a major renovation. The project scope of the future Jim Sabiston Field House is to renovate the interior of the existing field house and add 1,088 square feet to the rear of the current building, which will house a new locker room for the Blue Devils.

“I’ve never been to a field hockey game and never really thought about it, but even more so [Ryan Miller] spoke to me the more interested I was. And when I got to campus, I met Coach Pam [Bustin] and watch some of the girls and some games, it just seemed like a great fit,” said Susan Sabiston.

“I am extremely grateful for Susan Sabiston’s commitment to initiating this important project,” said the Duke head coach Pam Bustin. “Your genuine interest in providing world-class resources to our field hockey student athletes has paved the way and inspired others to get involved and expand their financial generosity.”

In addition to a new locker room, Duke’s current team room will expand from 288 square feet to 527 square feet, a 45 percent increase in space. The existing kitchen in the Feldhaus will be expanded and a meeting room will be added to the current entrance. The meeting room, which will include four coaching staff lockers and a 65-inch television, will provide the Blue Devils with a place to hold individual and group meetings and watch games and practice movies.

The brand new locker room at Jim Sabiston Field House is approximately 700 square feet and features 23 individual lockers. The lockers are 30 inches deep and 36 inches high with a 12 inch padded seating area in front of each locker. Because each student-athlete has plenty of space for gear, the locker room will also be a space for the Blue Devils to build their team bonds throughout a season in a comfortable and spacious environment.

“Jim would still want to be a part of Duke, and while technically he doesn’t have a foot on this earth, he would still want to be a part of Duke. And from what I’ve seen in field hockey, he would be all in,” said Susan Sabiston. “He would definitely love it. [This project] was like a jigsaw puzzle putting together very quickly in my head. That’s the perfect thing and Jim would love it and I knew he was going to do it when I did it [commitment].

One of the final details will be the installation of a new state-of-the-art audiovisual system, which will be connected to the stadium’s sound system. This allows the Blue Devils to bring music from the locker room to the field.

As no detail is left out, an athletic training room will be located adjacent to the new locker room where the Duke sports medicine team can assess the student athletes and conduct all preparations for the game day. This includes a pair of lockers for sports medicine staff, as well as ample storage space.

One of the coolest features of the building will be the installation of Vyv antimicrobial lighting in all team areas to ensure the area is safe and clean at all times. This new antimicrobial technology works 24/7/24 to kill bacteria and halt the growth of these microbes on devices and surfaces with proven results.

The officials’ changing room will also be larger, as three lockers will be available for the officials on match day. This gives the crew a private area to cool off or warm up and discuss the game.

Finally, the current turf at Williams Field will be removed and the latest state-of-the-art blue turf, Tokyo GT, will be laid. The new surface, first unveiled at the Tokyo Olympics, has myriad benefits, including sustainability.

Poligras Tokyo GT (Green Technology) is a new sustainable hockey turf developed by Sport Group to help Tokyo achieve the goal of carbon neutral Olympic Games. This new sustainable hockey turf is the first of its kind to incorporate filaments made from over 60% renewable resources. To develop the technology and product, AstroTurf drew on a wide range of resources from Europe, the United States and Australia. These included chemical engineers, materials testers, extrusion technicians, chemists and process engineers. And to ensure the turf was good for “lay and play,” AstroTurf also worked with its civil engineers, sports mechanics experts, and hockey players.

This premium playing surface is made from 60% sugar cane, saving CO2 and using less water. These hockey turfs make a positive contribution to the environment, creating an entirely new category of hockey turf that AstroTurf likes to refer to as “Climate Positive Hockey.”

“The team building will create an exceptional learning and training environment to support our ambitious and appreciative student-athletes,” said Bustin. “I can’t wait to start the next era of Duke True in our new home and on our new lawn!”

“I’m so impressed with Coach Pam. She just impresses me on and off that [field],” said Sabiston. “Everything I do or engage in such things, especially since this is really going to be Jim’s name, is like, ‘What’s he going to say?’ I just think he would love her. He would like to get to know the sport of field hockey. I’m excited that Jim can forever be a part of Duke.”

The Blue Devils look forward to breaking new ground when the student-athletes return to campus for preseason action in August. The team will move into the Jim Sabiston Field House in September when the season officially begins.

Duke is scheduled to host the 2022 ACC Championship and the 2025 NCAA Field Hockey Championship, taking this incredible facility to the forefront of the sport.

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