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Update: Scarano shares plans for Tucker Field and Whittemore Center upgrades

DURHAM, N.H. — The University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) Tucker Field sits adjacent to Wildcat Stadium and will serve as the future home for the Wildcats’ soccer and lacrosse programs. Phase I of the project was completed in 2019 but the field still has a ways to go before it will be a viable game site for these programs. UNH Director of Athletics Marty Scarano says they’re about $1.5 million away from being able to complete it, but hopes to be able to mark an end date by the time he retires in the spring.

Phase II of the project will include the construction of light standards, covered team benches, a two-story press box with full production capabilities and grandstands for fans to watch games. Scarano noted the ever-growing popularity of the men’s soccer program and said it’s a great problem to have, but the bleachers will probably need to have a minimum capacity of about 3,000 to be suitable for them.

Scarano also said the school has kept the old scoreboard from Wildcat Stadium with the intent of eventually using it at Tucker Field. The idea of installing a small video board is also something that Scarano and the university are looking into if they’re able to raise the funds for it.

When the project is completed it’s expected to have costed about four million dollars. According to the athletic department is seeking philanthropic support for Phase II of the project.

Renovations across the street at the Whittemore Center have also been in the works and will commence the moment both men’s and women’s hockey seasons end in a few months. The Wildcats currently play on an Olympic-sized sheet of ice which is 100 feet wide and will narrow it to 90 feet this offseason. Scarano said the current ice making system is well beyond its life expectancy and can falter as often as a couple times a week. The upgrades to the infrastructure are what led to the decision to resize the rink.

“It had to be done,” said Scarano about replacing the ice system. “We’ve known this for about five years. This was the time to decide to reduce the ice or not because once you do that you’re not going to go back in and tear out a perfectly good ice system to reduce the ice.”

With the new sheet of ice will come new boards and glass as well.

“The boards and glass right now are frankly unsafe because they’re the old system where it’s like running into a wall,” said Scarano. “We’re going to put in the new boards and glass that the NHL has with the ability to flex when you run into them, which is obviously going to be a student health and safety issue.”

Scarano expects these upgrades to cost about five million dollars.

More potential renovations which have not yet been approved is a concept that Scarano is calling “Whitt 2.0.” Scarano says it will take some aggressive fundraising, but the idea is to set up the Whittemore Center for the next 25 years. He and a group have been meeting intensely for the past four months discussing potential upgrades.

What is being called, “back of the house renovations” by Scarano include all team facilities inside the Whitt.

“Both team’s locker rooms, strength and conditioning, athletic training, the hallway, all of the stuff that’s intensive for recruiting, that needs to be done,” said Scarano. “It’s 28 years old and it’s never been touched.”

Tucker Field and the Whittemore Center are the only two athletic facilities currently being looked at for renovations with nothing major on the horizon for the field house or Lundholm Gymnasium. Scarano said he suspects replacing the turf at Bremner Field to be the next project in about two years. Bremner serves as the practice field for the football team.

Photos courtesy of

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