November 1, 2005
Baldwin City, Kan. — Construction will begin in mid-November on approximately $2 million in renovations as part of the final phase of improvements at the Charlie Richard Outdoor Sports Complex on the Baker University campus.
Baker University’s Board of Trustees recently approved the plans, including a new synthetic turf that will be used for football and soccer at Liston Stadium. The track also will be refurbished with a new surface and eight lanes.
“The new facility improvements will represent one of the most important
phases of our stadium project,” said Dan Harris, Baker athletic director. “The turf and the track will enhance the stadium, allow us to recruit some of the top athletes and provide the community with a multiuse area for many events."
The new artificial turf will feature synthetic grass on top of a deep layer of rubber pellets. Second-year Baker football coach Mike Grossner said the new surface would benefit all the teams that play home games at Liston Stadium.
“We will be able to practice at a more than adequate facility and not miss practice time because of weather concerns,” Grossner said. “We can now sell our stadium in our recruiting efforts and our community’s sports teams will benefit from a great surface.”
The projected cost for the synthetic turf athletic field is $597,550. The eight-lane track is estimated to cost $589.614.
Other upgrades include paved parking lots on the northeast and southwest corners of Fremont at Second streets, estimated to cost $326,763.
Improvements to the visitor bleachers at Liston Stadium and to the softball field are also part of the renovations.
All scheduled events planned on the track for spring 2006 will be cancelled or moved to other sites, Harris said.
Baker track coach Rob Mallinder was looking forward to the long-term impact of the track upgrades. The current seven-lane track was installed in 1991.
“I am especially excited about those athletes who have worked so hard under trying conditions, who will finally have a facility that not only makes them proud, but also a facility where they can achieve their fullest athletic potential,” Mallinder said. “Baker University's track facility will now match many other HAAC schools and allow us to start recruiting athletes who have in the past overlooked Baker's fine education because of a poor track facility.”
An eight-lane track makes Baker eligible to be host to NAIA and HAAC championship meets. Baker is scheduled to be host to the 2007 Outdoor HAAC track and field championships.
“It is always a thrilling experience when you can host one of the most important meets of the season, something we have been unable to do until now,” Mallinder said.
Baker’s men’s and women’s soccer teams will move their home games from North Park to Liston Stadium, which will allow the Wildcats to play at night.
The dimensions of the soccer field inside the track will be 116 yards by 70 yards.
“It is a great advancement in athletic facilities for the entire athletic department,” Baker men’s soccer coach Ron Pulvers said. “From a soccer perspective, it will be a great alternative in inclement weather. Moreover, it will provide an opportunity to play at night under the lights, which will keep our athletes in class. It will be a great recruiting tool.”