Benefactor Group Gives $3.2 Million to Build New Taylor Sports ComplexBy Jim Garringer Published: Dec 08, 2011
An expansive project to renovate Jim Wheeler Memorial Stadium on the Taylor University campus will transform the facility from hosting only football games into a football and soccer venue with new, permanent seating, an artificial turf field, and permanent lighting.
A group of benefactors has pledged $3.2 million to fund the project, which also includes a new scoreboard, a full-sized football/soccer practice field with artificial turf and lights, as well as one one-half size field with natural turf.
University officials say construction will begin in early 2012 with completion expected by August 1, 2012.
“Taylor University has long recognized the value of our intercollegiate athletic program is not measured only in terms of wins and losses, but also by their impact on the lives of our students, community and alumni,” said Dr. Eugene B. Habecker, President of Taylor University. “We are so grateful that this vision is shared by these friends who have shown their approval with their sacrificial and generous support of this important project. We are very excited that in the coming months our football and soccer athletes will be able to practice and play in facilities that match their outstanding achievements.”
According to Dr. Ben R. Sells, Vice President for University Advancement, the benefactors are long-time Taylor friends who have partnered with new supporters to fund the new Sports Complex.
“These individuals have generously invested in student scholarships, faculty support, academic programs and facilities to advance our mission,” he said. “Given the positive direction of Taylor athletics along with student success on and off the field, they want to make it possible for students to benefit from this complex.”
"Dr. Angie Fincannon, Director of Athletics, reached out to these individuals and through her vision and leadership compelled their involvement," added Sells. "We will be working with Dr. Fincannon and Marty Songer, Director of Alumni Programs, to partner with these generous friends."
The Sports Complex represents the first phase to improve athletic fields and facilities. Future initiatives, also dependent on gifts, include: space for football locker rooms, offices, meeting rooms and a weight room; enhancements to the Glass Track and Field; and lights and press box for baseball and softball fields plus artificial turf for baseball infield.
Another important initiative already underway is additional scholarships funded by alumni and friends.
“Watching the transformation that occurs in the lives of athletes through lessons learned in athletics has been a privilege to experience,” said Fincannon. “It is exciting and gratifying that those who understand this process share a vision of what Taylor University athletics can and will be. This addition to our athletic facilities will make positive and immediate impact for the campus – for our entire intercollegiate program and particularly for men’s and women’s soccer and football. This is a great leap for Taylor University.”