Plans are in place for Albion College’s athletic facilities to receive a much needed improvement.
The project will include upgrades to softball’s Dempsey Field, and baseball’s Frank Joranko field. It will also include the construction of a new stadium serving both the men’s and women’s soccer and lacrosse programs. New track and field facilities for throwing and jumping events will be constructed as well.
Matt Arend, Albion College’s athletic director, said the plans reflect the school’s commitment to it’s student athletes.
“[The plans] demonstrate in a highly visible way that the College is committed to our student-athletes,” Arend said. “We intend to provide them with the facilities needed to help them succeed at a very high level.”
Integral to the new plans is an indoor practice and locker room facility. The proposed building would be nearly 20,000 square feet, and could potentially serve men’s and women’s golf, baseball, softball, men’s and women’s soccer, and men’s and women’s lacrosse.
“The new indoor facility and locker rooms will be a huge advantage for us and allow us to have better practice time slots,” Scott Carden, head baseball coach, said. “It will allow our student-athletes to be more efficient and give them an easier chance to come in and get extra work.”
The new soccer/lacrosse complex will feature artificial turf and stadium lights. It will also include a press box, and permanent bleachers. Jerry Block, head men’s soccer coach, called the planned facility fantastic.
“I have been here 12 years and I’ve been waiting for a real competitive stadium. Our grass field fantastic but it doesn’t have that stadium feel,” Block said. “The lights and being able to have night games will create a real ‘event’ atmosphere for the campus community.”
Men’s Lacrosse coach Jake Decola said the new stadium should help attract new players. It represents another strong recruiting tool, in addition to Albion College’s academic heritage.
“The new facility will certainly be impressive to the young men we recruit because it shows a huge commitment from the upper administration to the sport,” Decola said. “We are one of the top academic institutions playing lacrosse in this part of the country, and that is important to myself and our recruits. That said, the facility will be among the best around and we look forward to the groundbreaking.”
Dempsey field, home of the Briton softball squad, will receive new dugouts and bleachers. A new infield and permanent outfield fencing will also be installed. Baseball’s Frank Joranko field will undergo similar improvements, along with a new press box. Carden said he is excited about where the plans are headed.
“We are hoping to have video systems linked throughout the stadium and indoor facility that allow our athletes to see footage of their swings almost instantly,” Carden said. “It will allow us to get our players better all year long, and also allow us to recruit the type of athletes that will help us have continued success.”
The plans will benefit Albion College’s track and field program. Included are a launch area for javelin throwing events, and new cages for discuss and hammer throwing events. New landing pits for jumping events will be built as well. These improvements are a continuation of last summers improvements to Elkin Isaac Track.
A groundbreaking date for the project has not been set. The new facilities could be constructed incrementally. The improvements will be funded predominately through private donations to Albion College’s athletic department. Estimated costs for the upgrades top $3 Million.
“We are going to hit ground running hard and move forward as fast as we can,” Arend said. “If the money comes in quickly we will do the whole thing right away, but we have contingency plans for both.”
Photo Courtesy of Albion College