by Katie Morford
The first stage of the University of Northwestern – St. Paul’s new athletic complex is a go with groundbreaking expected in April or May.
Phase one includes a new football field, baseball field, softball field, tennis courts and a 1,400-seat bleacher stadium with locker rooms, restrooms and concessions. The fields will have artificial turf and will be lighted to allow for increased practice and playing time.
UNW President Alan Cureton notified the faculty and staff of the Board of Trustee’s approval in an e-mail sent Jan. 15.
So far, the SOAR fundraising campaign has raised $8 million in gifts and pledges for phase one. The total cost of the phase will be $10.7 million. According to the e-mail announcement sent to staff and faculty, “The remaining amount will be carefully financed or covered by the potential sale of assets.” Additional contributions are being sought and will be used to lower financing needs.
The e-mail also stated, “Moving forward with these improvements for the athletic facilities expands our varsity student athletics and student recreation programs, a necessary development in order to grow and maintain a competitive standard locally and regionally.”
With completion of the new facilities UNW is hoping to launch two new varsity programs, men’s and women’s lacrosse.
President Cureton expressed excitement about moving forward with the project. “We believe the redesign of our outdoor athletic fields will be a positive factor in helping to attract an retain current and future students. Also, having outdoor lights for the athletic fields will help our students be protective of their classroom time during their competitive season,” he said.