A contingent of current Houghton College students, student-athletes, coaches, staff, faculty and parents gathered together for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Kerr-Pegula Field House on Friday afternoon.
The event was held on a site overlooking the future location of the 107,000 square-foot facility. The field house is Phase III of a $25-million project, which includes placement of artificial turf on Burke Field and the construction of stadiums for baseball and softball.
Participants in the ceremony included Ralph Kerr (Kerr-Pegula family representative), Gary Larder (Houghton Board of Trustees member), Rick Melson (Houghton vice president for advancement), Dr. Shirley Mullen (Houghton president), Ken Gay (senior architect, Keystone Associates), Alyssa Figueroa (student-athlete, women’s soccer/track), Fred Thompson (regional operations manager, LeChase Construction), and H. “Skip” Lord (Houghton executive director of intercollegiate athletics).
“It’s a dream come true,” said Kerr, whose daughter, Kim Pegula, and her husband, Terry, provided the initial $12 million gift to kickstart the project. “You have the donation of the money, and you have an idea of what it will be like, but then you see the baseball and softball stadiums nearing completion and the field house coming up out of the ground. It’s the best.”
“Houghton offers a great combination of competitive athletics and high academic achievement. Kim and Terry are really supportive of that.”
Figueroa expressed her appreciation as a representative of Houghton’s 250 student-athletes. “It’s exciting, especially since we are transitioning to NCAA Division III and expanding our programs,” said Figueroa. “It will attract more people to campus and hopefully bring more people out to athletic events. It will create a whole new atmosphere.”
Mullen shared that the impact of the new facility will go beyond the athletic department. “The rest of the community and every student at Houghton will benefit. It will be a great facility to encourage wellness, physical fitness and the wholeness of personal development that is a hallmark of the Houghton experience.”
The facility is expected to be complete in late May 2014.
The baseball and softball stadiums will be ready by the end of September.