Football is officially coming to the campus of Evangel University.
The school [held] a groundbreaking ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday for an artificial turf athletic field, the university confirmed. By the end of this summer, the AstroTurf field will be ready for football practice, as well as for men’s and women’s soccer practice and games.
This development follows a round of public and private fundraising through Evangel’s “Momentum Campaign for Athletics.”
The campaign’s first phase calls for a $2.9 million project that will add the artificial turf game field with lights and two practice fields for football and soccer. It will also fund repairs to the campus’s baseball and softball fields and finish paying for nearly seven acres of property that Evangel acquired from the Missouri National Guard in 2015.
Since April 1, donors pledged more than $1.5 million of the $2.9 million needed to fully fund construction costs.
“This is the start of an incredibly exciting time for our university,” said Dr. Michael Kolstad, vice president of university advancement. “We’ve been transforming the buildings on campus for a number of years, and the time has come for our athletic facilities to take a big step forward.”
The new turf field will be known as Coryell Field, named for the owners and developers of TLC Properties in Springfield.
“This project has been blessed with a shared vision and spirit of collaboration with our alumni and friends of the university,” Evangel University President Carol Taylor said. “Thanks to generous gifts from the Coryell family and others, we are able to provide the resources necessary to improve our athletic fields and our student experience.”
Sam and Carol Coryell both taught music at Evangel, prior to the founding of TLC. All three sons attended Evangel.
The Crusaders men’s and women’s soccer teams are scheduled to host games on campus this fall.
Women’s head coach Bruce Deaton is excited about the next step for a program that started in the fall of 2015.
“It is not often in a coaching career that one gets to be a part of building a program from scratch,” said Deaton. “I have been blessed not only to be a part of the launch of soccer at Evangel, but to now be doubly blessed, as we will soon be training and playing on campus at a brand new, state-of-the-art turf field.”
The Crusaders football team will play its home games at Ozark High School this fall. Head coach Chuck Hepola is excited about the prospects of one day moving home games on campus.
“This facility will not only benefit our current student-athletes, but will enhance our recruiting efforts as we pursue future Crusaders,” Hepola said.