Witt tears down part of football stadium as part of $40M project


Wittenberg University took the next step in construction of a $40 million indoor athletic facility on Tuesday, demolishing the press box that has long stood over Edwards-Maurer Field.

The press box was pulled down away from the football field. It took crews three attempts to get it down but fell with a loud boom once it tumbled.

RELATED: Wittenberg breaks ground on $40M complex designed to lure students

“For whatever it’s worth, it’s maybe not aesthetically pleasing, but it’s kind of a tradition at Witt,” said football coach Joe Fincham last fall. “I’ll be sad to see it go.”

The athletic facility improvements include: a 125,000 square-feet complex with a 100-yard indoor artificial turf surface; a six-lane, 300-meter indoor track; a 7,000-square-foot weight room; a sport performance, strength training and wellness center; technology-enabled classroom space; updated locker rooms; and modern court surfaces for tennis, volleyball and basketball.

MORE COVERAGE: New Wittenberg president wants stronger ties with Springfield

The double-tiered press box was named after local sports editors Dan Hoyt, of the Springfield Sun, and Bob Sullivan, of the Springfield News, in 1987.

When the Tigers won national championships in the 1960s and 1970s, the stands rose to the bottom of the press box. In later years, stairs connected the press box to the stands. A temporary structure replaced those stairs last season as preparation for the demolition continued.

Wittenberg Athletic Director Gary Williams expects a new press box will be ready to go when the 2018 football season begins. He said work on the 1929 Field House, the old gym next to the HPER Center, should also be complete by then. However, the entire facility won’t be completed until 2019.

The construction has disrupted routines for athletes and coaches. Fewer locker rooms are available, forcing some athletes to use racquetball courts. Coaches have moved out of their normal offices at the HPER Center.

TRENDING STORY: Severe winter storm expected Friday into Saturday

Williams praised everyone for adapting. The volleyball team reached the national championship game. The football and women’s soccer teams won North Coast Athletic Conference championships.The men’s basketball team is 13-0 and ranked 10th in the nation.

“There’s a lot of things that have been disrupted,” Williams said. “We realize that. But at the same token, it’s amazing how hard the kids are working. You can’t say enough about their resilience and grit.”

Williams expects the steel that will be used for the main structure to arrive sometime in the early spring. He called the press box demolition a positive sign in construction.

READ MORE: Local Wendy’s closing after more than 30 years: 3 things to know

“It’s one of the last visible changes that people will see and it’ll be noticeable,” Williams said. “It’s sentimental for people. There’s a lot of people who have experienced this place for many years. It’s kind of a special moment. It’s the beginning of the next generation for the facility, but it’s symbolic of many years of history and tradition.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Trump to speak at CPAC: What time, what channel, who else is speaking?
Trump to speak at CPAC: What time, what channel, who else is speaking?

President Donald Trump is scheduled to address an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday. Trump is set to begin speaking around 10:05 a.m. ET at the gathering of conservative activists being held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center near Washington, D.C. CPAC, hosted by the American Conservative Union, is held...
Should Indiana move to Central Time Zone? Some state lawmakers think so
Should Indiana move to Central Time Zone? Some state lawmakers think so

Several Indiana lawmakers want to move the state back to Central Time Zone. State Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus) introduced a resolution in the State Senate urging the legislative council to study which time zone Indiana should be located. Sen. Mike Delph (R-Carmel) is also listed on the bill. Indiana was under Central Time until 1965 when "existing...
Icelandic discount airline adds more flights at Cincinnati airport
Icelandic discount airline adds more flights at Cincinnati airport

Icelandic low-cost airline WOW air is adding a fifth weekly frequency to its scheduled service at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Due to strong demand, WOW air is increasing its service frequency from four days a week — Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday — to five days a week throughout the summer travel...
A decade later, Russian couple discover their dead infant son is actually alive
A decade later, Russian couple discover their dead infant son is actually alive

For nearly a decade, a Russian couple believed their infant son was dead. Instead, they discovered the child is alive; an “administrative mix-up” led to miscommunication. In 2011, the couple, who live in Volgograd, were told by their doctor that their newborn boy would die within the week, The Independent reported. Believing that their...
Veteran claims homeless woman she invited into home stole her car
Veteran claims homeless woman she invited into home stole her car

A military veteran thought she was being a good Samaritan when she invited a homeless woman into her California home to avoid cold weather. Instead, she is lamenting the loss of her car, which she alleges the homeless woman took, KRON reported. Sharon Larson, 69, said she saw a homeless woman outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Fairfield...
More Stories