Campus News

Million dollar project upgrades east side of campus

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A fully-funded, million dollar project is underway to improve the east side of campus by adding estate fencing along Liberty Drive, a brand new softball field and a new athletic park entrance.
Construction team working on the new Bethel College sign at the corner of Liberty Drive and La Salle Avenue.
Construction team working on the new Bethel College sign at the corner of Liberty Drive and La Salle Avenue.
There are three phases in the renovation process. The first phase consists of adding the fence along the sidewalk of Liberty Drive. The project will proceed into the second phase with the demolition of the tennis courts and the softball field and finish with the construction of a new softball field. The final phase will complete the project with the building of the new athletic park entrance. While the east side originally had no fencing and one unlit sign announcing the campus, construction has already begun in order to add iron fencing next to the sidewalk and a larger, lit sign to alert visitors of the entrance. Phase one has been already been delayed several weeks. Due to the unavailability of the custom-made fencing, it has not yet been installed. The softball field will be torn down and rebuilt 10 feet south of its position to allow enough room for the fencing, which will continue onto LaSalle Avenue. In addition, there will be a press box built on the east side of the field with a large Bethel College logo facing Liberty Drive. “We would like this addition to make the east entrance look more collegiate,” said Dr. Gregg Chenoweth, president of Bethel College. The next athletic park entrance will be situated in a central location between the softball field and the Baseball Training Facility. The concrete arch itself will read ‘Bethel Sports Complex’ and there are plans to include park benches and landscaping within the area. Renovation plans also include the demolition of the tennis courts. While the dimensions meet regulation requirements, the quality of the courts are not suitable for conference play. The men’s and women’s tennis teams will continue to use Bethel's courts for practice until spring 2015 when they will move their practice to Knollwood Country Club's outdoor courts. Currently indoor matches are held at South Bend Racket Club with outdoor matches taking place at Baker Park. When asked about the impact of this decision on the teams, Chenoweth said, “It is important that the tennis players and coaches know that we are not diminishing their sport by ripping down their courts. In fact, it’s the opposite.” Future renovation plans include new tennis courts on the south side of the complete softball fields, but are not yet finalized. Until then, the site where the tennis courts now stand will be turned into a grassy area for student use and an extra intramural field. The concept was approved in March 2014 but the construction itself did not begin until August. The original intention was to have the project finished by winter of 2014. Due to delays and the late start date, the estimated completion date is at the end of the 2014-15 academic year.
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