On June 7, Scot Reisinger, Mount Mercy University’s athletic director, proclaimed, “It’s a great day to be a Mustang.” Only minutes before Dr. Norm Nielsen, interim president, announced that the university had purchased 22 acres of land to build a state-of-the-art outdoor athletic complex. The property where the new athletic complex will be built was formerly home to Terex, an equipment manufacturing company, and had been vacant since June 2010.
“This project is not only a benefit to the university, but it also shows that Mount Mercy is committed to improving the community by replacing a deteriorating industrial site with a facility that will make the neighborhood more vibrant,” said Dr. Norm Nielsen, interim president.
Once complete, the outdoor athletic complex will provide a home field for men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s track and field, baseball and softball. For the first time in the university’s 85-year history, athletes for these sports will be able to play and practice on fields owned by the university.
“It’s hard to have a competitive, home field advantage when the teams are traveling all over town for practices and games, but this complex changes that,” said Aaron Lacy, a senior soccer player.
Currently, the university has to rent facilities scattered around Cedar Rapids, and athletes can spend more than 30 minutes traveling to practices and home games.
“The athletic complex will be huge for our athletes. Being just down the hill from campus will allow them to spend more time practicing and studying – not driving to and from various facilities around Cedar Rapids,” said Ryan Scheckel, head cross country and assistant track and field coach.
The athletic complex will be constructed in phases over the course of a few years and is projected to cost $15 million. In support of the university and the benefits the athletic complex will provide, The Hall-Perrine Foundation has awarded Mount Mercy a $4 million matching grant to help fund the complex. In order to receive the full $4 million, the university must secure $8 million in private gifts by December 31, 2015.
“This project is 100 percent funded through private gifts,” said Duff Ridgeway, vice president for development and alumni relations. “We need donors to come alongside us to help make this complex a reality.”
Head Softball Coach Larry Yoder summed up this historic milestone by saying, “The outdoor teams, including softball, have never had a home field to practice and compete on, so this complex is a really big deal.”
A really big deal, indeed. Learn more about the project and campaign by visiting mtmercy.edu/homefield