ITHACA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Ithaca College was granted a gift to fund the installation of new lighting and a turf field at their Butterfield Stadium from 1981 graduate Monica Bertino Wooden.
The field will be named Bertino Field at Butterfield Stadium in recognition of her donation of $3 million for the project, which will greatly expand the uses of the premier outdoor gathering space on campus.
While at Ithaca College, Wooden was a student-athlete and played both softball and basketball. She earned her bachelor’s degree in physical education and her brother, John Bertino ’80 won national championships while playing on both the 1979 football and 1980 baseball teams.
During her early part of her professional career with IBM, Wooden then co-founded MercuryGate International in 2000, a pioneer in the field of supply chain logistics that provides transportation management solutions, serving as its chief executive officer until selling the company in 2018.
“As an athlete and later as a youth coach, I found that one need was always constant—field time! So, I am very pleased to give back to the college that invested so much in me,” said Wooden.
“We are so grateful for this show of support for our student-athletes and our entire campus community,” said Ithaca College President La Jerne Terry Cornish. “I am looking forward to cheering on our teams and watching other activities take place on Bertino Field at Butterfield Stadium for many years to come.”
Currently, Butterfield Stadium is mostly used for home football games, which means it isn’t used often. Now with synthetic turf and lighting, the stadium will be available during all seasons, seven days a week at almost all hours of the day!
“Monica Bertino Wooden is truly an inspirational leader, accomplished entrepreneur, and thoughtful philanthropist,” said Susan Bassett ’79, associate vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics and campus recreation. “It means more than words can convey to have a former teammate and Delta Psi Kappa sister make such a commitment to Bomber success. The value of this generous gift impacts our football program, first and foremost, but extends beyond that, as these alterations will greatly increase opportunities for the use of Butterfield Stadium by other athletics programs and the wider campus community. This will enhance our athletics competitiveness as well as the overall student experience. The demand for time on Higgins Stadium, our lone synthetic surface, cannot adequately be met. By doubling our inventory, I expect to quadruple our capacity.”
The project will bring environmental and economic benefits as well. Ithaca College says the synthetic turf fields conserve water since irrigation is not needed, and the stormwater runoff is cleaner since it will not include the fertilizers and pesticides required for natural-grass fields.
The field lights are planned to be Musco LED sports lights, which cuts energy consumption by as much as 80% compared to regular sports light systems.
“We will both save on maintenance costs and create revenue-generating opportunities, with a stadium that can host a variety of large-scale outdoor events when not being used by the college community,” said Tim Downs, vice president for finance and administration. “This aligns with our strategic plan goals of improving space utilization, optimizing resources, and developing community partnerships.”
Clark Companies, a specialized contractor that focuses on outdoor athletic facilities, will install the turf. They have designed fields such as MetLife Stadium, Cornell University, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
The project is planned to begin in the spring of 2023 with an estimated completion at the start of the fall semester and the first home football game.