Within the last few years, community members, faculty, and the 2,500 students of Concordia University have watched their campus bloom into a new and expanded being of higher education. This month, the northeast Portland university breaks ground on a long-awaited Community Athletic Complex, which upon completion will feature a well-lit, year-round turf field and facilities for clubs, camps, kids, and student-athletes.
“I view Concordia as a local gathering place for the community,” says college athletic director, Matt English, comparing last year’s opening of Concordia’s George R. White Library and Learning Center with the addition of the athletic complex.
“With the library, people can use the coffee shop, sign up for library cards, check out books, and use our conference rooms for meetings and a place to gather. That’s fantastic. We want to take the same concept to the field, and use it as a community resource just like the library is”.
Spanning four city blocks and covering almost 16,000 square feet, the new turf field and athletic center will seat over 1,800 fans, while providing not only first-class facilities for Cavalier athletics and NAIA sports, including soccer and baseball, but a home field for neighborhood soccer clubs, and serve as a host exhibition site for the Portland Timbers.
Construction is underway and the athletic complex is anticipated to open during this fall.
In the past, athletes, including Concordia students and community teams, have either played off campus for games or on the only campus field, which now serves as the new location for the library and campus green. The old grass field had no lights, and the hours of field use were very limited due to a full season of wear and tear that caused poor playing conditions.
With a future of lights and synthetic turf, the new athletic complex will be able to dedicate more hours to field use on a year-round basis.
“More than half of the field time will be dedicated to community groups,” says Madeline Turncock of Concordia’s marketing and communications department. The athletic complex will devote 63 percent of its available hours to the community and 37 percent to Concordia athletics, according to the project’s website.
Cavalier fans and players can’t wait to finally cheer on teams in their own backyard.
Concordia athletics hope to see a new bubbling of school spirit as student athletes and fans are brought back to the campus for home games. With the latest features including a press box, space training, team rooms, stadium seating, concessions, and restrooms, what current or perspective athlete wouldn’t love to play in the new facility?
“I think to have a home for soccer and baseball teams is very exciting for our student athletes and an opportunity to bring back the home field advantage,” says English, who also believes that more students will be apt to stay on campus in the evenings to watch games, keeping them safe and engaged with the university.
The Athletic Complex is just one of several recent additions for the university. In 2009, the private, Christian, liberal arts university opened the George R. White Library and Learning Center, and in effort to invite community members to its use, issued 1,500 free library cards to neighbors. During the same year, the new Concordia Place Apartments on Northeast 27th Avenue also opened for students and community residents.
Concordia University is one of 10 universities founded by the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. The school first began as a four-year academy in 1905 to meet educational needs of local pastors and parochial school teachers for the church.
Over 100 years later, Concordia has evolved into a university comparable to larger accredited Oregon colleges, offering a full liberal arts education, pre-professional programs, professional church work programs, and undergraduate and graduate degrees in education and business.
Concordia offers 19 undergraduate majors with concentrations in more than 20 fields, and is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.