Chancellor Doug Kristensen

University of Nebraska at Kearney Chancellor Doug Kristensen announced today the initiation of phase one of a project to improve the outdoor sports and recreational facilities on campus.

“Over the past 12 years we have substantially renovated our academic infrastructure,” said Kristensen. “Our classrooms, buildings and information technology enhancements have supported teaching and learning on campus. However, we have not made comparable progress on the infrastructure that supports student growth and campus life outside the classroom and laboratory.”

Upgrading Foster Field has been on the list of campus capital improvement projects for more than ten years. As academic facilities have improved, many sports and recreational facilities have been removed or have deteriorated.

“Foster Field is a true campus landmark,” said Terry Fairfield, University of Nebraska Foundation president and CEO. “Since the field’s construction in the 1930s, nearly every Kearney student has participated in activities held there. We’ve begun discussion about the project with local community members who share our desire to move forward to test the feasibility of attracting private support for the project. Early enthusiasm has resulted in approval by the Foundation’s board of directors to move forward on the $2.1 million phase one plan.”

During the first phase of the project the competition field will be replaced with a synthetic FIELDturf™ surface and a new scoreboard will be installed. New field lighting, a sound system and game clocks will also be added.

The first steps of the project will make the field accessible year-round. Intramural and recreational sports, the Physical Education classes, the marching band and other groups will benefit from the ability to use the field without damaging the surface. The size of the field will also be expanded, allowing more outdoor events and activities such as soccer to utilize the field.

“We are very excited to get these initial improvements underway at Foster Field,” said UNK Athletic Director Jon McBride. “Contingent upon generating additional private funds, a number of projects are planned for Foster Field and other areas of campus in the coming years. Included in the list of planned projects are a student wellness center, a track and field facility, a tennis complex and additional parking for people visiting campus events.”

Removal of the current field material and initial construction activity will begin immediately with a goal of making the field available in time for the new academic year this fall. Details about additional phases of the upgrade plans and other improvements will be available on or before July 1, 2004.

The University of Nebraska Foundation is a nonprofit corporation supplementing support for students, faculty, facilities and programs at the University of Nebraska’s four campuses through gifts from alumni, friends, corporations and other foundations.