Albion College has been planning a big athletic facility expansion since 2011.
These big plans will mean big changes for Albion athletics.
Last year, there was a delay in the progression of the project because of financial reasons. The changes are said to cost about three million dollars. The situation is looking bright, however, an anonymous donor made a contribution of $500,000, about a month ago.
The plan includes building a new soccer and lacrosse stadium, relocating softball’s Dempsey Field and building a new model of baseball’s Joranko Field.
“We still have about $900,000 to go and after that, we need the approval of the board of trustees,” said Matt Arend, Albion College athletic director. “I think that great facilities show that we are serious about what we are doing.”
Arend is confident the board of trustees are supportive of the idea for the renovation because top-notch facilities attract the eyes of recruits.
Albion has turned a new leaf this semester, letting the rest of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) know we are serious about athletics. The men’s soccer team has already doubled their wins from last season, while the women’s soccer team earned its first victory in two years.
Arend noted Albion College might be losing potential recruits because of out-of-date facilities.
“We are playing catch up right now,” Arend said.
Many other schools in the MIAA have been making upgrades to their athletic facilities recently, and Albion is trying to do the same. This renovation will hopefully be a huge recruiting tool for future prospects.
Davin Montgomery, Northville senior, also thinks the new plan will do wonders for the school.
“I think there will be a chain of events that eventually occurs, because once we build a new stadium, better talent will be arriving on campus, which will result in winning teams and students in the stands,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery thinks when the renovations are made, the baseball team will finally be able to compete with Adrian and Hope in recruiting, as well as on the field.
Montgomery also touched on a very important topic within the different teams on campus.
“I think that the planning of practices will run a lot better when teams don’t always have to share space and time,” Montgomery said.
Certain Albion sports teams have had to share facilities in the past, which has caused practice times to be very inconsistent.
The men’s lacrosse coach, Jake DeCola, shared his ideas of what he thinks the renovations will bring to Albion College.
“Any time you dedicate that amount of resource to athletics, you’re going to get the attention of some top-tier prospects,” DeCola said.
Many comparisons have been made between the planned athletic renovations and the library remodel two summers ago.
“I think we do a good job of getting students to our games, but I also think of the renovations to the library and how students are going there a lot more often. I think there will be something similar with the complex,” DeCola said.
DeCola also mentioned Albion students should feel absolutely lucky to be a part of this college and with the renovations coming in the future, this place could be even greater.
That being said, DeCola described the new complex as the “cherry on top of a sundae” when recruiting potential prospects.
Hopefully the $900,000 needed to break ground comes sooner, rather than later.
“You need to have adequate facilities that show the college is committed to having strong athletics around campus,” Arend said.
Arend, Interim President Michael Frandsen, Donna Randal (chancellor) and Scott Draper (director of development for athletics) are working hard to have these renovations done as soon as possible.
Photo courtesy of Albion College