The newly completed Lubetkin Field at Mal Simon Stadium, the latest edition to the Wellness and Events Center
As students return to school with new experiences and milestones from the summer, NJIT welcomes them back with its own new look. Over the summer, construction of the long-awaited Lubetkin Field at Mal Simon Stadium has finally been completed.
This outdoor multipurpose facility is to be the new home for NJIT men’s soccer, women’s soccer and men’s lacrosse programs. These three teams have not played on campus since Nov. 7, 2015.
“After four years and 243 practice shuttles, to say we are excited would be an understatement,” said Travis Johnson, Head of Men’s Lacrosse, in an NJIT Athletic Department press release. “The opportunities for our players to practice and work on their game outside of team practice within steps of our athletic building will greatly help us continue to develop as a program. The athletic building combined with the field will rival Power 5 programs [five of the largest conferences within the NCAA].”
The construction of this facility certainly took longer than anticipated. Originally, in an email welcoming the class of 2022 to NJIT, the at-the-time Student Senate president Kellen Kadakia wrote that NJIT “hope[s] to unveil the soccer field in the middle of the  fall semester.”
NJIT released a video titled “WEC Athletic Field” on their website that shows the making of the soccer field. The two-minute video shows a time-lapse of the entire construction process, beginning with the demolition of the upper green and the Wellness and Events Center’s predecessor, the Estelle and Zoom Fleisher Athletic Center.
While the unveiling of the new field took longer than expected, members of the NJIT Athletic Department agree that it is well worth the wait. Featuring state-of-the-art technology like a digital videoboard capable of displaying live video and animated graphics, high-end LED sports lighting from Musco, and high-speed internet access and seating for media and radio broadcasters, Lubetkin Field is truly a turf worthy of a tech school.
Aside from the cool new features of the field, being able to practice on the same field that they play games on allows athletes to become accustomed to the turf and better prepare themselves. Additionally, having a home field boosts school spirit and moral support.
Tristan Parker, a junior Biomedical Engineering major and a goalkeeper for NJIT Men’s Soccer said “[The new field] has a huge impact on our identity as a team because we are finally back on campus and have the whole school behind us. It will be great to have everyone watch us defend our field.”
When asked about his personal experience with the new field, Parker continued that “The new turf is great! The turf itself plays really smooth and the atmosphere is amazing. We really just look forward to putting on a show and hopefully bringing home some trophies this year.”
Emily Heckman, a senior Chemical Engineering major and a defender in the NJIT Women’s Soccer Team, agrees with Parker’s sentiments regarding the impact that the newly-completed soccer field has on Highlander identity. She is quoted in an NJIT Athletic Department press release as saying, “I think the field is a symbol of a new era for NJIT athletics. We’re very excited to finally have a true home field advantage. While watching the construction during workouts, we dreamed about the goals and wins that would take place on that field. We’re ready to finally make those things happen.”
Athletes are not the only ones celebrating the completion of the soccer field, which will be open for intramural programs and student activities in addition to intercollegiate athletics according to Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics Lenny Kaplan. Other students are glad to see the construction of the field finally finished—both for school spirit and for campus aesthetics.
Blake Easten, a sophomore studying Biomedical Engineering, said “[The soccer field] looks nice, and it feels good to finally have our home teams play on our own turf. Coming in as a freshman, finally seeing it finished and no longer a dreary construction site really improves the mood of the campus.”
Last year Easton lived in Cypress Hall, which was surrounded by construction from both the soccer field and the Makerspace. Now that both projects have completed construction, the freshmen dorm should hopefully feel less “dreary” to residents.
It seems that overall the NJIT community is excited for the new field. Now, it’s up to our teams to defend the new home turf.
Photo by Katherine Ji