Kansas Wesleyan University hosted a neighborhood gathering Tuesday evening to discuss the new $7.5 million sports complex project.
KWU President Dr. Matthew Thompson gave a presentation on the latest project plans and developments to citizens who live in the area, and several city officials.
President Thompson described the vision of the project. It includes a new football stadium, track, practice field, and locker room facility.
The stadium will seat 2,000 people on the home side. Movable bleachers will provide seating for up to 500 fans on the visitor’s side. Seating can be expanded on both sides in the future, as needed.
The playing surface on both the stadium field and practice field will be field turf. It will be utilized by multiple KWU programs, including the football team, men’s and women’s soccer team, the baseball team, and the softball team.
The complex will also include an eight lane track, which Thompson said was not in the original plans. To make use of it, the school plans to begin a track program. It will be also available to host state-wide events, and will be used by Sacred Heart High School.
KWU and Sacred Heart High School will both use the new complex. The schools will also share parking during events.
In front of the new stadium there will be a monument to Glenn Martin, for whom the current stadium is named, using stones from the existing facility. A coyote mascot monument is also planned. The field will still be called “Gene Bissel Field”.
A cast iron fence will surround the complex, as will a sidewalk.
To make room for the expansion, traffic will be altered on a couple of nearby streets.
The expansion to the east will have an impact on Osborne Street. Plans call for it to become a southbound one-way street, with no on-street parking.
The expansion to the north will have an impact on Claflin Street. The street will stay two-way, with additional parking added. The sidewalk that surrounds the stadium will have a rolled curb, allowing access for emergency large emergency vehicles.
Emergency access on Claflin had previously been a concern. Salina Fire Marshal Roger Williams saw the new plans for the first time Tuesday night, and was optimistic about the emergency access changes.
There are no plans for changes to Cloud Street or Fourth Street traffic.
A couple of residents had previously expressed concern about Osborne becoming one-way, with no on-street parking. None of them were at the presentation Tuesday evening. The university plans to reach out to them individually.
Thompson said that the first hurdle has already been cleared, approval to demolish the current aging facility. The next step is approval of plans from the Salina Planning Commission.
If everything goes as planned, the current stadium will be demolished in late October, as soon as Sacred Heart’s football season concludes. Construction will begin immediately, and the new facility will be ready in September for the 2014 football season.