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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Evangel University held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, June 8, at 5:30 p.m., for the first phase of development for its new athletic facilities — a state-of-the-art turf field that will include lighting and will meet and exceed all specifications for NAIA football and soccer competition.
By the end of this summer, the AstroTurf field will be ready for football practice, as well as for men and women’s soccer practice and games.
This development follows a successful first round of public and private fundraising through Evangel’s Momentum Campaign for Athletics.
Phase one of Momentum is a $2.9 million project that will add the lighted artificial turf field and two practice football/soccer fields. It will also fund repairs to EU’s baseball and softball fields and finish paying for nearly seven acres of property that Evangel acquired from the Missouri National Guard in 2015.
Donors have responded by giving and pledging more than $1.5 million since April 1. With most of that money in hand, the decision was made to proceed with the construction of the turf field. Fund raising for the rest of phase one continues.
“This is the start of an incredibly exciting time for our university,” said Dr. Michael Kolstad, vice president of university advancement. “We’ve been transforming the buildings on campus for a number of years, and the time has come for our athletic facilities to take a big step forward.”
The new turf field will be known as Coryell Field, named for the owners and developers of TLC Properties in Springfield.
“This project has been blessed with a shared vision and spirit of collaboration with our alumni and friends of the university,” said Dr. Carol Taylor, president. “Thanks to generous gifts from the Coryell family and others, we are able to provide the resources necessary to improve our athletic fields and our student experience.”
Sam and Carol Coryell started TLC Properties in 1988, and it remains a family-owned and operated business, with more than 25 apartment communities and approximately 4,000 apartments. Their sons, Sam M., Daniel and David have played vital roles in the development of the company.
Sam and Carol both taught music at Evangel, prior to the founding of TLC. All three sons attended Evangel; Daniel and David are both 2003 EU graduates.
Thanks to this project, all men and women’s soccer games will be able to be hosted on Evangel’s campus beginning this fall.
“This will be huge for EU soccer,” said Bruce Deaton, director of soccer operations and head women’s soccer coach.
“It is not often in a coaching career that one gets to be a part of building a program from scratch,” said Deaton. “I have been blessed not only to be a part of the launch of soccer at Evangel, but to now be doubly blessed, as we will soon be training and playing on campus at a brand new, state-of-the-art turf field.”
Head football coach Chuck Hepola is equally excited. “This facility will not only benefit our current student-athletes, but will enhance our recruiting efforts as we pursue future Crusaders,” he said.
Dr. Dennis McDonald, athletic director at Evangel, is especially appreciative of the advancements being made.
“I am thrilled about the addition of the new turf field,” said McDonald. “I want to express my sincere gratitude to the executive leadership of Evangel University for their tireless efforts to advance the university through the development of the athletic facilities. I also want to express my thanks to the Coryell family and the many individuals who have given towards this cause.”
The total athletic project is designed to benefit the entire student body, including more than 300 student athletes.
The architect and contractor
Once again, Sapp Design in Springfield, Mo., was selected to do the architectural work for Evangel University. Sapp is a full-service architectural design firm that has partnered with Evangel for every major campus project through the past 16 years and has literally changed the face of the Evangel campus.
Evangel University has selected MidAmerica Sports Construction, a division of Mid-America Golf and Landscape, Inc., in Lee’s Summit, Mo., to be the project contractor.
Mid-America is recognized for state-of-the-art athletic sports field construction for brand new installations and for sports complex renovations. They offer both natural grass and synthetic turf installation.
Mid-America has completed a variety of athletic field projects for clients ranging from the Kansas City Chiefs (practice field) to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Kansas State University, Iowa State University, Texas A&M, Louisiana State University, and locally, Hillcrest, Glendale and Kickapoo High Schools.
About the AstroTurf
Evangel has selected the premier AstroTurf product, Game Day Grass 3D3, for the playing field.
This top-of-the-line product blends monofilament and slit film fibers for combined grass-like aesthetics and high durability. 3D3 also utilizes RootZone, a technology that incorporates texturizing fibers to reduce infill migration, for improved cleat release, shock absorption, and durability.
This turf is in use at such varied venues as Oklahoma State’s recently renovated T. Boone Pickens Stadium, and the Rogers Center, home of the Toronto Blue Jays.
It was announced on March 3, 2016, that, “Following a rigorous vetting process, the National Intercollegiate Athletic Association has selected AstroTurf as the Official Synthetic Turf of the NAIA.”
AstroTurf is a globally recognized brand with fields on all four corners of the Earth. It remains a family-owned American company that maintains both its corporate headquarters and its manufacturing facilities in Dalton, Georgia.
WRITTEN BY: Paul K. Logsdon with Bryce Wilks
PHOTOS BY: Paul K. Logsdon