The Kansas Wesleyan University stadium project is moving forward.
According to the school, on Monday the KWU Executive Committee and the Committee on Finance & Operations met in a joint session, acting on behalf of the Board of Trustees, and voted to move forward with demolition of Glenn Martin Stadium and to begin Phase I of the $7.5 million dollar Sports Complex. The project, which has been nearly five years in the making, will provide lighted turf competition and practice fields, an eight-lane track, a grandstand and a field house.
Phase I begins on December 30 with light demolition work by Frank Construction Company. Demolition of Glenn Martin Stadium will begin on January 9. The community, alumni and friends of the university will be invited to a demolition celebration from 12-1 p.m.; rocks from the stadium will be preserved for a memorial as well as for souvenirs, which will be made available through the university bookstore.
The university will request bids for contractors in January, and construction should begin in March. Phase I will include the two fields, the track, perimeter fencing, lights, resurfacing of the tennis courts and street improvement. Osborne Street will become one-way, southbound, with ample space for on-street parking. The first phase is expected to be completed in time for the womens soccer team to kick off its season on August 28, the mens soccer team on August 29 and the football team on September 6.
“Phasing the project allows us to build the highest caliber facilities in a realistic time frame,” says Kansas Wesleyan University President and CEO, Matthew Thompson, Ph.D. “It is a time-driven, prudent financial decision that gives our student-athletes the chance to play on the fields this fall while we raise the money needed to build the grandstand and field house.”
The first phase also allows for the universitys partners, Sacred Heart Junior/High School and the Salvation Army football teams to play on the state-of-the-art fields this fall as well.
“Completing the track and field venue will also allow us to effectively recruit additional student-athletes in the shortest time frame,” says Thompson, who is focused on increasing enrollment at KWU to 1,000 within the next few years.
Phase II includes the grandstand, the centerpiece of the project and also the most expensive and time intensive to build. If enough funds are committed by October 2014, the deadline for the $750,000 Mabee Foundation matching grant, construction of the grandstand could begin as early as November 2014. It will take approximately six months to build.
Phase III will be the completion of the field house with locker rooms for soccer and visiting teams.
“There is tremendous momentum right now,” says Bill Grevas, vice president for Institutional Advancement. “The community, our alumni and friends have stepped up to make sure this project is moving forward, and we are confident that as people see the construction, they will want to join us in completing this significant community project.”
“The student-athletes are going to benefit greatly from this new facility, but more importantly, it will enhance the campus experience for all students,” says Mike Hermann, Director of Athletics. “Our soccer teams, which have practiced and played exclusively off campus, sometimes starting home games after 9 p.m. on weekdays, will be able to play a more attractive schedule in the new facility.”