You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Wittenberg eyeing $15-$20 million sports facility

Location would be flanked by HPER Center, football field, tennis courts and McCreight Ave.


Wittenberg University is considering building a $15-20 million indoor field with artificial turf to serve its intercollegiate and club teams, intramural program and general student population.

The university is close to naming a committee that will recommend what’s to be included in the facility, officials said.

“We have a group of people who are keen to participate in the project,” Interim Athletic Director Jeff Ankrom said.

The facility likely will be built north of Wittenberg’s HPER Center in the area flanked by the Albright Tennis Complex, Edwards-Maurer Field and homes along the south side of McCreight Avenue.

“A third of our students come to participate in varsity athletics,” Ankrom said, and between men’s and women’s varsity and club programs and intramurals, there’s a “constant demand for space” that often keeps the lights burning late at Edwards-Maurer Field.

Half the money for the facility has been pledged by Wesley and Ann Bates. He is chairman and CEO of Stanley Steemer, and both are 1970 graudates of Wittenberg. Wesley Bates also is a member of the Wittenberg board of trustees.

Bill Martin, a Wittenberg alum and former athletic director at the University of Michigan, said the health of the university as well as its students is likely tied to a new facility.

“We don’t want to become a sedentary nation,” Martin said. “We don’t want everybody looking at a computer screen all day and then an X-box.”

“It’s an understatement to say that Wittenberg’s facilities are not up to standard with our peer institutions” and NCAA Division III schools in general, said Martin, who toured the current facilities with university coaches.

He predicted a new facility would be “a huge shot of adrenaline for Wittenberg. And it goes to the ability to recruit more students and better qualified students.

“There’s an obvious ability to increase our class size,” he said, which has important financial implications for Wittenberg at a time when higher education is stagnating and the university faces a competitive market for a limited pool of liberal arts students.

The likely multi-purpose nature of the building was signaled by Ankrom’s objection to calling it an in indoor practice field, a term that might seem to reserve it for the football team.

“It will serve all our field sports,” he said. “We won’t make it just a football facility, just a lacrosse facility. It’s going to support men’s and women’s sports.”

He said the “super-duper wish list” would include an indoor track, which the university lacks, “and some people think we should put in the equipment that would be needed to support an exercise science program.”

That might have the potential for adding an academic program to the university that could again boost student recruitment.

It’s because of such complexities that projects like this are subject to “a lengthy process in which all kinds of people in the (university) community have a chance to say what they’d like,” Ankrom said.

Martin, who considers the indoor track a must, said the facility could be “the centerpiece for updating all the sports facilities at Wittenberg.”

“The stadium needs some help, too,” he said, “but you can’t do everything at once.”

Martin added the quality of the facility will be critical.

The buildings at academic institutions “should reflect a long life,” he said, and blend into the campus architecture.

Although Martin won’t serve on the committee, he said that, as an alumn, “What I don’t want to see is a cheap metal building that goes up and looks like a steel or metal warehouse on the outside of Columbus.”

Ankrom said expectations for the building will be balanced by constraints of budget and space: “The bigger you make it, the more you push up against those things.”

He said he doesn’t have a firm handle on the timeline involved.

The committee is “almost formed,” he said, and “I would think the group could start doing some work and planning in the spring semester. A certain amount of money has to be raised or promised before you start (working on) those architectural plans.”

“Once we hammer out those architectural plans, we’ll know a lot more.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

Texas parents concerned about bathroom cameras in park
Texas parents concerned about bathroom cameras in park

Concerned parents are questioning why cameras were installed in a public restroom at a Texas park. >> Read more trending news Patrick McGrath thought teenagers were joking about security video cameras mounted inside the bathrooms at the Springtown Park, until he saw them for himself, KDFW reported. "To see who's going in is what they're...
Disabled teenage girl denied trip to Disneyland
Disabled teenage girl denied trip to Disneyland

A 14-year-old California girl who attends a special education class was denied a chance to go to Disneyland on a school field trip because the bus transporting the students did not have a wheelchair lift, her parents claim.  >> Read more trending news Madison Wolanyk was born with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and autism and needs a wheelchair...
Mom writes school, says daughter is ‘done with homework’
Mom writes school, says daughter is ‘done with homework’

We know what you’re thinking: Where was this mom when we had stacks of homework to do as kids? >> Read more trending news Bunmi Laditan, a mother, author and blogger, sent an email to her 10-year-old daughter’s school, WJW reported, telling officials that “my kid is done with homework.” Laditan told teachers she is...
Commentary: Dairy cows or canaries?
Commentary: Dairy cows or canaries?

Those Wisconsin dairy cows at the center of another trade kettle now boiling between the United States and Canada, a friend suggests, aren’t really black-and-white Holsteins. They’re tiny, yellow canaries, he opines, and their tweets — not President Donald J. Trump’s — are a warning that America’s reign as the world&rsquo...
Woman accused of embezzling $9,000 one pizza at a time
Woman accused of embezzling $9,000 one pizza at a time

A Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, woman is accused of embezzling close to $9,000 from Mazzio’s Pizza. Officials said Diana Pruett managed to pull in the money one pizza at a time through refunds. A manager at the store discovered something suspicious with the number of returns and refunds. Police were called in. When they contacted Pruett, she reportedly...
More Stories