MOORHEAD, Minn. (10/15/09)--- Concordia College Athletic Director Dr. Larry Papenfuss announced on Thursday plans for a $5 million upgrade to the Jake Christiansen Athletic Complex. The project, named "Update the Jake", will focus on putting artificial turf on the football field and baseball diamond, lights for the football stadium, a new locker room for the football and women's soccer teams, upgrades to the soccer field and baseball diamond and improved access and parking for the entire complex. The project will be entirely funded by private donations and already has $1.2 million in pledges and verbal commitments.
The details of the project were set forth by Papenfuss who then fielded questions from the local media.
Papenfuss stated that the project will help in dealing with the increased number of athletes who participate at Concordia. He pointed out that the number of student-athletes has more than doubled in the last decade.
Papenfuss went on to detail how the athletic complex is home to over 80 events each year that include football games, baseball games, soccer games, track meets, high school track meets and Babe Ruth baseball. All these events generate an estimated 30,000 fans and an update to the facilities will help the college better serve the needs of the athletes and fans who attend Concordia and community events at the outdoor complex.
The new locker room will solve the problem of too many athletes trying to use the football locker room that was built in 1966. At that time it was intended for only 90 players. Today's team has over 130 members, and on game days, the building has to accommodate the opposing team as well as the entire Concordia team, both coaching staffs and the official's crew. The new locker room would also solve the problem of dressing rooms for both soccer teams. Soccer was added in the 1980's and does not have a nearby locker room. Both teams dress in Memorial Auditorium. The old locker room would stay and house the men's soccer team and the new building would feature locker rooms for the football team and women's soccer team. The building would also feature an upgraded laundry facility which would be able to handle the increased numbers of all the outdoor sports.
The updated outdoor complex would also relieve the strain that the weather puts on the fields. The complex would be able to house an expanded intramural schedule as well as high school teams and the possibility to host playoff games. The new turf fields would also help with the cost of maintenance especially in the spring when weather is a major concern for baseball.
Finally, the new complex would also be able to handle the in flux of parking on game days and during other large events. A second access point to the complex would held overflow traffic problems.