The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation has awarded a $750,000 challenge grant to Kansas Wesleyan University toward the construction of its on-campus, multi-faceted Sports Complex. The grant will help the university reach its fundraising goal of $7.5 million for the construction of the facility.
The state-of-the-art, fan-friendly complex, scheduled to open in fall 2014, will house two lighted turf fields for football and soccer, an eight-lane track and field venue, and resurfaced tennis courts, in addition to seating for 2,000, a press box, concession stands and a field house.
“The on-campus Sports Complex will become a point of pride for the Kansas Wesleyan and the community,” says Dr. Matthew Thompson, President and CEO. “It will be the best facility in the KCAC. It will enhance our student experience and become a key component in the competitive recruiting process.”
The Sports Complex will also provide the Salina community with opportunities to host major athletic events and allow the city to bid on statewide championships.
The project, five years in the making, has garnered tremendous support from alumni, including former Kansas Governor Bill Graves, a 1979 graduate of KWU, who is leading the steering committee.
“This grant provides the momentum we need to complete this critical project,” says Graves. “We have acquired some generous gifts, and now is the time for our alumni, friends and partners to make this a reality for the Wesleyan and Salina communities.”
The university’s current on-campus facility, Glenn Martin Stadium, built more than 70 years ago, has been unsuitable for competitive events for the past six years. Teams have been practicing and competing in off-campus facilities, often after 8 p.m. when field time is available. Glenn Martin Stadium will be demolished once the Salina City Commission completes its second reading on November 11.
Stones from the historic stadium will be used to construct a memorial that will be erected on the concourse of the new stadium. The university is also devising a plan for distributing stones to alumni and friends who wish to have a stadium keepsake.
The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation is a private charitable foundation established in 1948 to aid Christian religious organizations, charitable organizations, institutions of higher learning and hospitals in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The foundation provided a challenge grant in 2005 for the final phase of Kansas Wesleyan’s Hauptli Student Activities Center, which houses Mabee Arena.
“We are fortunate to once again have the support of the Mabee Foundation to enhance our campus facilities and to help us fulfill our mission to provide opportunities for our students to be successful,” said Thompson.