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Posted by: Date: April 13, 2012 In: , ,
From the right, Kim Wilson '76, Sheri Tonn, Tom Absher, Brad Cheney, Laurie Turner, Bruce Bjerke, Frank Hewins '86, and Thomas Suek '12, shovel dirt. (Photo by John Froschauer)

From the right, Kim Wilson ’76, Sheri Tonn, Tom Absher, Brad Cheney, Laurie Turner, Bruce Bjerke ’72, Frank Hewins ’86, and Thomas Suek ’12, shovel dirt. (Photo by John Froschauer)

Groundbreaking sets all-purpose field plans in motion

By Chris Albert

This past Friday, April 13, a groundbreaking ceremony took place for the first of two all-purpose fields on the PLU campus.

“This day is a culmination of a long wish of a lot of people,” said Bruce Bjerke ’72, chairperson of the Board of Regents.

The $3 million project has been funded by gifts from more than 400 donors and at least 20 former and current regents, he said. A gift from Wilson Construction and the Don and Kim Wilson family was instrumental in breaking ground on the athletic fields project. Bjerke said, adding that without their gift this project would not be happening.

“This is a great thing to celebrate,” he said.

The new synthetic surface field will serve the men’s and women’s soccer programs as a practice and competition field. Football will utilize the field for practice. Club sports, such as Ultimate Frisbee and lacrosse, intramurals, academic activity courses and outdoor recreation will all have the opportunity to use the field.”Our goal is to help you be the very best that you can be,” Bjerke said, of PLU’s mission to give students the opportunity to build strong minds and bodies.

It will also serve as a fitness and activities opportunity for the surrounding community, said Sheri Tonn, vice president for finance and operations. Director of Athletics Laurie Turner said the new field and the continued investment in capital facilities for athletics will enhance athletic and fitness opportunities for students, improve recruiting for student/athletes, and help continue alumni development.

This will “level the playing field,” in regards to raising where PLU athletic facilities rank in the Northwest Conference, she said.

Funding toward a synthetic surface baseball field continues and this past year the track and field were refurbished, opening the door for PLU to host the conference track and field championships, an opportunity that happens once every eight years.

“We’re hopeful that this opportunity is just the first of many to come,” Turner said.

Bjerke, Tonn, Turner, Thomas Suek ’12 (student athlete), Kim Wilson ’76, Tom Absher (Absher Construction), Frank Hewins ’86 (Franklin Pierce School District), and Brad Cheney (President, Ben B. Cheney Foundation) turned the ceremonial first spades of dirt for the groundbreaking.

Construction of the field is expected to be complete in August.