Rice’s athletic teams have shared a commitment to excellence for decades — now they share a front door, too.
Completed in spring 2009, the Audrey Moody Ley Plaza is a grassy quadrangle featuring several concrete and decomposed-granite pathways that connect Tudor Fieldhouse and Youngkin Center, Jake Hess Tennis Stadium, Rice Track Stadium and Reckling Park. A variety of trees surround the plaza, including Washingtonia palms, Mexican buckeyes and burr oaks, while underground infrastructure installed during the construction phase sets the stage for a future fountain.
But the plaza isn’t just common ground for Rice’s athletic facilities — it’s also becoming a common place for students to relax.
“I am seeing students use the area more and more often, maybe just putting a blanket down or throwing a Frisbee,” said Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information Chuck Pool. “I think as the plaza’s greenery matures, we will see it being occupied even more.”
In addition to connecting Rice’s athletic facilities and providing students with a space to unwind, the plaza brings Reckling Park into the public eye. Rice’s baseball stadium has long been nearly invisible from College Way, where most Rice visitors travel.
“Before the plaza was built, people might have caught a glimpse of Reckling Park’s scoreboard as they hit the tennis courts,” Pool said. “But it’s no longer an afterthought. There are so many signature architectural facades on campus, and I think that Reckling Park now is visible enough to become one of them.”