Kansas Wesleyan University, after completing final paperwork, is excited to announce their plans for a new sports complex. This announcement comes on the heels of Kansas Wesleyan University’s hiring of Director of Athletics, Mike Hermann, and the new leadership of President Matt Thompson, who began in April. Excitement is building for this project, five years in the making.
“There is considerable momentum for the sports complex project,” said Thompson. “We continue to raise funds and work towards our ultimate goal – an athletic complex we can call our own.”
The complex, a $7.5 million endeavor, will include facilities for men’s and women’s soccer, football, men’s and women’s tennis, softball, men’s and women’s track and field, cheer, and dance. At this point, KWU has $3 million in commitments, including a $1 million lead gift and an anonymous $500,000 contribution. For completion, $2.4 million remains to be raised, and KWU is seeking a $1.2 million challenge grant. The University will also invest $1 million. Sacred Heart, who has a strong partnership with KWU, has also made a significant investment in the complex.
“Initially, a track was not in the plans. However, our alumni and community supporters voiced their need for a track. We heard that voice and realized that some restructuring could be done and now our complex will include an eight-lane track that will accommodate intercollegiate and high school meets,” said Thompson.
The project is on a scale that is manageable, appropriate, and affordable, and designed to match the abilities projected in an independent feasibility study. The complex will include 2000 seats, locker rooms, restrooms, and concessions. There will be a monument to Glenn Martin and the history of the complex, and the field will remain Gene Bissell Field.
“Gene Bissell is an icon – his legacy continues to shape KWU athletics. He has been extremely supportive of this project and dedicated much time, energy, and resources to making this a reality for us,” said Thompson. Bissell is also the honorary chairman of the steering committee.
Hermann, who just began his tenure last week, expressed his enthusiasm at the benefits of a new sports complex.
“The entire project is vital to campus spirit. Competition on campus, especially in the fall, when students have just arrived, generates excitement,” Hermann said. “The recruiting benefits will be substantial, as eight of our programs will utilize the complex. Including Mabee Arena, we will now be able to house 13 of our 20 sports on campus.”
Former Governor Bill Graves, a 1976 KWU alumnus and former student-athlete at the University, is the national chair of the steering committee.
“Governor Graves has been instrumental in setting the direction and leading the fundraising efforts. His support has been invaluable,” said Thompson.
KWU plans to begin accept bids in the fall of 2013 (upon completion of Sacred Heart’s football season), followed by construction, beginning in January of 2014, and completion in time for opening for the opening football game on September 6, 2014.
“This project is transformational for Kansas Wesleyan,” said Thompson. “Feedback continues to be positive, the excitement keeps building, and hopefully by next fall, we’ll be cheering for the Coyotes in a brand new stadium.”