Today’s collegiate sports facility complexes are getting larger, more complex and costly, and ultimately, noisier for residents who live near them. The collegiate sports facility market alone continues to grow and evolve. As student enrollment increases, outdated facilities age, programs shift and competition on the athletic recruiting front grows more intense.
With the increased expansion of outdoor collegiate sports complexes near residential areas, more and more people are experiencing noise disturbances near their homes. This noise pollution can diminish privacy, affect peace of mind, and increase tension levels for many people. Increasingly, municipalities are looking closer at potential noise issues before new complexes are built. They are seeking proactive approaches and new ways of controlling noise before they are built, rather than rely on reactive solutions later that may or may not be effective.
Let’s look at some recent happenings that made the news at a few colleges and universities. As student populations grow, so must the campuses and physical elements of these schools. As they grow and expand closer and closer to residential areas, so too does the intrusion of noises these complexes onto nearby residential areas.
Northern Kentucky University (NKU), located in Highland Heights, KY, (about 12 miles southeast of downtown Cincinnati) built a new $6.5 million soccer stadium to support its successful men’s and women’s soccer teams. The beautiful, new open-air soccer stadium was built into a hillside on university property near the school’s $69 million state-of-the-art basketball arena.
The soccer field borders a residential area located near the backside of the field. Music and voices from the game announcer is broadcast over a public address system before, during and after games. Over the past year, nearby residents have voiced concerns to the university and to the Highland Heights City Council about the noise levels at the complex. Recently, the university announced it is turning to a commonly used solution; planting evergreen trees along the backside area to partially block the noise to nearby residents during games and activities at the soccer complex. These tree barriers are generally not an effective and acceptable noise reduction solution.