The next major construction project approved by the Board of Trustees at Martin Methodist College will transform the 44-acre tract of land on East College Street into an athletic complex second to none in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
The trustees on Thursday, Jan. 20, authorized the next phase of the East Campus project – a $3 million development that will include varsity softball and baseball fields, 11,000-square foot indoor practice facility (designed for baseball, softball, soccer and golf), an intramural field, a walking trail, pond, picnic area, and a signature plaza. While this phase of the project does not result in fully developed softball and baseball stadium structures, the fields will be lighted and spectator seating and basic amenities will be provided.
Already on the site is a lighted soccer field that is home to the nationally ranked men’s and women’s RedHawk teams. To be constructed in a future phase will be a tennis complex and the stadium structure for softball and baseball.
The signature plaza will incorporate use of the three pieces of twisted steel from the World Trade Center – which Martin Methodist College received following the Sept. 11, 2001, disaster – in a themed treatment that is still under development. (Director of Athletics Jeff Bain, who was responsible for obtaining the historic artifacts, has been told that Martin Methodist is the only institution other than the Smithsonian to have more than one piece of steel from Ground Zero.)
Also included in the East Campus work will be the development of significant infrastructure, including roadways, bridges and parking. Also to be funded through this project will be a 1,100-square foot cardio exercise facility in the existing Curry Christian Life Center, located on the college’s main campus in the historic Westhill section of Pulaski.
“This project represents a vital step forward for the college’s intercollegiate athletic program, but it is just as important for the general student population,” said President Ted Brown. “The intramural field will accommodate the enormous growth seen in intramural activities in recent years, and the walking trail and addition of the cardio exercise facility will respond to the increasing interest in fitness among our students. The pond, plaza and picnic areas will also provide wonderful recreational opportunities for students.
“Funding for this phase of East Campus development will come from some additional gifts, but primarily from net tuition revenue generated by new junior varsity teams in softball, baseball and men’s and women’s soccer,” Brown said.
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