Piles of rubble, signs of progress

Where many buildings once stood well past their prime, now stands an expanse of land with a few piles of rubble and one lone building as the only indication of what used to be.

This is the picture of progress.

One year ago, while standing in one of the now demolished buildings, Chairman of the Mount Mercy University Board of Trustees Brandt Worley, then Interim President Dr. Norm Nielsen and Athletic Director Scot Reisinger, announced that nearly 23 acres of unused industrial property had been purchased to build the first ever Mount Mercy University outdoor athletic complex.

In the time since that announcement, campaign Home Field Advantage was launched to raise the $15 million required to build the complex. To date, the campaign has raised $10 million.

“A donor driven project, the financial support we’ve received for the complex is reflective of the generous Cedar Rapids community as a whole. Mount Mercy is committed to enhancing our student experience, but we’re also committed to advancing the opportunities for this community, its youth, and developing natural partnerships,” said Duff Ridgeway, vice president for development and alumni relations.

In conjunction with the fundraising efforts, months of remediation and demolition efforts have been underway at the property, located adjacent to main campus. While slightly delayed by an unseasonably cold and snowy winter, clearing the property of the vacant, dilapidated buildings has already made a significant aesthetic difference in the neighborhood. With the land cleared, it is also easier to see just how expansive the outdoor athletic complex will be once completed.

With a softball field, baseball field, eight-lane track, soccer stadium and multi-purpose practice field, the athletic complex will offer playing facilities for six of the university’s 15 varsity athletic teams – teams with players and coaches who are eager to see continued progress.

“The Athletic Complex had brought great excitement to both the Mount Mercy and Cedar Rapids communities,” said Reisinger. “Alumni are proud to see the University make this commitment, current students are excited that they are here to watch the development of the complex, while new students are eager to attend Mount Mercy to play on the new fields.”

The department also hired former University of Iowa baseball coach Jack Dahm. Dahm will be taking on the role of head baseball coach and coordinator of athletic fundraising.

Provided fundraising efforts continue to go well, the university hopes to be playing at new complex as early as Fall 2015. Additional information about the complex and ways to contribute to Home Field Advantage can be found at www.mtmercy.edu/homefield.

Written by Sara Baughman