New $1.3M practice facility to be completed soon

By Pulse Staff

A rendering of the new practice facility is posted on the UF Athletic Department website.

A $1.3 million facility is going up on the campus of the University of Findlay and the story behind it is one of timing, hard work, and generosity.

UF Director of Athletics Jim Givens says the project is a step in the right direction when it comes to getting more athletics actually on the main campus.

“This is a really, really big move for us,” Givens said.

The “big move” is an 83,000-square-foot multi-purpose practice facility, located on the south side of Koehler Fitness Complex. The Dick Strahm Champions Field is a turf field scheduled to be completed by Sept. 1.

UF President Dr. Katherine Fell explained at an all-campus meeting that the decision to move forward with the facility was time sensitive.

“The turf-field project is donor-driven, and the donors are eager to have the project completed for this fall semester,” Fell said. “We are very grateful for their generosity.”

Givens explained that Brad Morrison, a 1991 UF graduate and owner of Maumee Bay Turf Center in Oregon, Ohio, let him know his company was working on a big project at Findlay High School. If the University was interested in the turf practice field, this would be a window of opportunity.

“This is a great time to do it because all of their equipment is here and they would literally just have to go down the street,” Givens said. “And so we save thousands of dollars in transportation costs and piggyback on the order. If you order bulk, it’s less expensive.”

Givens says as soon as he got the call he went to Dr. Fell and explained the situation.

“I asked if we could start doing some exploratory calls to see what kind of support may or may not be out there in terms of giving,” Givens said. “We were overwhelmed in a very short period of time with the support that we were given.”

Givens said head football coach Kory Allen made several calls to alumni and other groups. With $460,000 in donations committed to the project, they got the green light to move forward. And the giving has now reached about $760,000, according to Givens.

With one corporate gift of $100,000 and the donation of stone by National Limestone company in Findlay, everything else has been mostly alumni.

“It’s actually impressive our football alumni are stepping up like they are,” Givens said.

The field is name for legendary football coach UF Dick Strahm, who coached from 1975 to 1998. During his tenure, UF won four NAIA Football National Championships.

The field will be used mostly by the football program, but it will also be a place for other sports to practice as well.The university’s intramural sports programs and other community organizations will also have access to the field.

The official release from UF says the 100-yard turf facility will have a goal post in the north endzone and extra room for positional work in the northwest corner of the field. Givens says there will be stamped concrete that goes the whole length of the field and it will be lit, much like the current off-campus practice facility at Armstrong Athletic Complex. Having an extra lit turf field allows other teams to use the Armstrong facility giving student-athletes more flexibility in their evening schedules.

Givens says having the new facility on campus is a statement about UF athletics.

“It puts us on the map immediately,” Givens said. “It’s really, really going to help us from a recruiting perspective.”