UW-W softball facilities set to receive upgrades
"Our goal is to have comparable facilities between our softball and our baseball programs, and with the building of this press box, concessions, locker room and restroom area we will have that," said Paul Plinske, UW-Whitewater's athletic director.
Having women's athletic facilities comparable with the men's athletic program also helps the university meet federal Title IX requirements, which promote gender equality on campuses, Plinske said.
The 2005 campus master plan established a multi-phase approach to upgrading sports facilities including the van Steenderen Softball Complex, which is within the multi-sport facility. A $360,000 fundraising goal was set for new buildings for track, soccer and the softball program. Only $60,000 was raised after the economy suffered its worst downturn in 80 years.
Dave and Lolita Kachel's $1.5 million gift toward Perkins Stadium renovations created more flexibility toward financing improvements to athletic venues. Students agreed to pay up to $10.22 a semester toward the baseball turf and track/soccer projects. When those projects came in under bid, it allowed the athletic department to shift unused baseball funds to the softball program, which the students also supported.
"The students are behind this," said Anna Schwartz, of the UW-Whitewater Student Senate Segregated Fee Committee.
The project includes a 2,145-square-foot, two-story concrete building, an entrance plaza, landscaping and a paved ramp that will connect to the upper levels of the existing softball grandstand.
The building will be used during the spring softball season and other times of the year for offices, meetings and as extra restrooms during the football season.
The building also should benefit recruiting efforts, too, Plinske said.
"This will be a huge opportunity for them to recruit great student athletes to come to the program because now we'll have a locker room that will be right behind the softball complex," he said.
Construction is scheduled to begin in June and be completed by spring 2012.