Midland University to Make Million Dollar Renovations to Memorial Field
Midland University has finalized plans to invest nearly $1.6 million in the construction of a state-of-the-art artificial turf playing surface and installation of a weather-resistant track at Memorial Field. The university has selected Nemaha Sports Construction to bring the upgrades to Memorial Field in time for the start of football season this fall.
“Midland is excited about the introduction of such a high quality facility to the area and all of the opportunities for student growth, community bonds, and rich events that will be cultivated in its midst,” said Midland President Ben Sasse. “This is a lasting addition that will serve as a resource for both our student-athletes and the Fremont community.”
The innovative new artificial playing surface will be crafted to optimize performance, promote player safety, and improve playability. As the home venue for Fremont’s three varsity football programs, the new Memorial Field will ensure the best possible conditions for each contest regardless of weather conditions or the amount of use the field experiences.
The uniquely designed SporTurf surface will include a woven blend of monofilament and slit filament polyethylene fibers to maximize grass-like performance while enhancing long term durability. Beneath the blades a sand and rubber infill will soften the surface and improve safety. A geomembrane with a base layer of limestone will improve drainage and allow for a reduced crown on the playing field.
Surrounding the playing field will be a completely new track, rebuilt from the ground up to provide an advanced surface for the needs of today and equipped to meet future demands. Formed with a unique concrete base layer that is designed to carry a useful life expectancy well beyond that of traditional construction methods, the track surface will be a Spurtan BS system from Advanced Polymer Technology. The Spurtan BS system consists of a 10mm base mat made from reclaimed rubber and topped with a 3mm structural spray. This IAAF approved system reduces force for increased safety while providing increased durability and spike resistance.
“The proprietary processes used to design and construct the running track structural substrate, combined with the Spurtan and Sporturf products, will make this a quality venue for years to come,” said Nemaha Sports Construction President Jeff Emanuel. “These surfaces will give athletes at any level an impressive platform to showcase their skills, and I am thrilled we were able to help bring this to Fremont.”
In addition to the improved running surface, ground up construction will mean improved drainage and include preplaced conduit for electronic timing upgrades in the future.
“This facility will be a positive addition for every team involved, especially when inclement weather can impact the venue’s robust sports calendar,” said Dave Gillespie, Midland University Director of Athletics. “We are eager to work with local schools and the city to ensure Memorial Field is the setting where great experiences are created for the entire community.”
In addition to continuing to serve as the home field for Midland Football and teams throughout the community, the multipurpose field will now be equipped to host soccer matches and various levels of track meets. The improved durability will enable multiple sports to not only compete, but also practice at the facility and is expected to increase opportunities to schedule additional community events.
Midland’s investment in the project is made possible through a generous contribution from former Midland football player Roger Heedum. A 1970 alumnus, Heedum was a record-setting player while at Midland.
“Roger’s generosity, commitment, and support of Midland are truly inspiring,” said Sasse. “His selfless contribution will enhance the student experience in Fremont for years to come.”
For Midland University, this upgrade will help accommodate rapid growth in both population and student opportunities. The fastest growing college in the region over the last five years, Midland’s student body has more than doubled since 2009. In a response largely attributed to the implementation of the Four-Year Graduation Guarantee and heavy investment in one-on-one advising, the university reached a record level of enrollment last fall.
In addition to rapidly growing student numbers, the university has met students with enhanced opportunities to live, learn, and grow in a residential community. Since 2009 the institution has added 11 varsity sports to create the state’s largest athletic department. Last year, Midland sponsored a total of 27 varsity sports and 12 JV programs.
Construction on Memorial Field has already begun and is expected to be completed prior to the time football practice begins in August.