The fund-raising effort has now reached the public phase, which is one reason Wittenberg hosted a reception Thursday to provide an update on where the facility stands. It hopes for one last push to reach the magic number of $40 million.
Among the features of the complex will be: an indoor 100-yard 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.
Bates, the founder of the Stanley Steemer carpet cleaning business, got the idea of the facility rolling with his pledge. He said he had talked for years with fellow Wittenberg grad Ken Benne about the need for an indoor facility.
“Now we never had this in mind,” Bates said, “but what happened was as time went on and we looked at facilities around the country, we realized no one in Division III has a facility like this. I thought it would be great if Wittenberg could have the best facility in America.”
Bates put pressure on Wittenberg football coach Joe Fincham, saying, “Mark my words, within five years of this facility being built, we will have a national championship.”