Phase 1: Construction workers prepare Shoemaker Field for a new drainage and irrigation system. Later, they will re-sod the playing area for a more visually appealing surface.
Student-athletes benefit from Messiah College’s “Fields of Growth”
Joining a Messiah College athletic team means more than simply the opportunity to be part of a nationally competitive athletics program. For Messiah students, intercollegiate athletics open up a world of character-, friendship-, and faith-building opportunities, part of the unique mission of Messiah College’s athletics.
Jerry Chaplain, director of athletics, reflected in the winter 2006 issue of The Bridge, “We want our student-athletes to grow as whole people—academically, athletically, and, most importantly, as committed Christians who understand how their faith affects everything they do.”
In recognition of the importance of athletics in many students’ educational growth, Messiah College focused its attention on enhancing the College’s athletics facilities through its “Fields of Growth” initiative—part of the College’s recently completed $50.5 capital campaign, To Serve and To Lead: The Campaign for Student Enrichment at Messiah College.
A three-phase project, “Fields of Growth,” enabled significant facility enhancements at Shoemaker Field—home to Messiah’s nationally recognized men’s and women’s soccer teams as well as the track and field team—and Anderson Field, home to the field hockey team and the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams.
Phase 2: Stadium lights were erected over Anderson Field, allowing evening practices and games to be held.
Construction improves facilities
The first phase of the project began at Shoemaker Field, where a new drainage and irrigation system was installed beginning in December 2005. Next, new layers of topsoil and sod were added, visually enhancing the playing surface.
At the same time, the second phase of the project began when stadium lights were installed at Anderson Field. These lights will allow games and practices to be held on the field after daylight hours, notably increasing the location's usability.
The third phase of construction began at Shoemaker in July when workers began to install a new bleacher section with approximately 1,000 additional seats for fans. According to Kathie Shafer, vice president for operations, the bleacher renovations will also incorporate efforts to make the field more handicap-accessible.
All renovations and additions are slated to be completed by August 30.
The initiative's results
"The Fields of Growth project has been such an important step for Messiah athletics,” says Dave Brandt ’85, head coach of the men’s soccer
Phase 3: Construction workers removed the bleachers at Shoemaker Field. New bleachers—complete with 1,000 new seats for spectators—will be finished by August 30.
team. Brandt, who played soccer at Messiah during his college career, believes that the facility upgrades at Starry Athletic Complex are important for the continued success of the Messiah athletics program but also serve as a unifying force within in the College community.
“We were able to put together—from start to finish—a fundraising project that brought together a number of different College departments and a large group of Messiah alumni,” adds Brandt. “These alumni were able to give back to a College community that helped build them as people and as Christians."