Grand opening of Kennesaw State University Soccer Stadium yet another milestone
8,300-seat, state-of-the-art stadium is home to KSU women’s soccer team and Atlanta Beat Women’s Professional Soccer team
KENNESAW, Ga. (May 2, 2010) — The newly constructed Kennesaw State University Soccer Stadium opened to the public on May 2 amidst grand opening festivities that featured a ribbon-cutting ceremony, live music, soccer drills and appearances by soccer players. The impressive facility is home to the KSU women’s soccer team and –– through an innovative partnership –– the new Atlanta Beat Women’s Professional Soccer team.
Construction of the state-of-the-art, $16.5 million soccer stadium was completed this week, in time for the grand opening and one week before the Atlanta Beat’s first home game, which is slated for May 9. The Atlanta Beat will lease the 8,300-seat stadium from the KSU Foundation in a collaborative partnership that will allow both the collegiate and professional women’s soccer teams to play out their entire seasons in the facility –– billed as the only stadium of this size in the nation designed specifically for women’s soccer.
The stadium’s grand opening festivities marked yet another milestone for increasingly prominent and burgeoning Kennesaw State, which has rapidly earned its ranking as the state’s third-largest university. The institution now enrolls more than 22,300 students, who will be greatly served by the stadium’s addition to the university’s athletics and campus-life facilities. The stadium is being funded in large part by KSU student fees.
“With this new stadium, our students and student-athletes can pride themselves in having an athletics facility that is best-of-the-best,” said KSU President Daniel S. Papp. “This stadium will propel athletics at Kennesaw State to new heights. We are honored the Atlanta Beat selected KSU as its home, and that our women’s soccer team also will be able to practice and play on a field that will be the envy of women’s collegiate soccer teams across the nation.”
Hundreds of KSU students, faculty, staff and community members attended Sunday afternoon’s grand opening festivities. Support from the university’s students and student organizations, especially the KSU Student Government Association, was critical in making the stadium a reality.
The bowl-shaped stadium –– built on 21 acres of land east of the Chastain Road exit off of Interstate 75, about a mile from Kennesaw State’s main campus –– is the latest addition to the KSU Sports & Recreation Park, which opened in fall 2009 to expand the university’s facilities for intramural and club sports. The stadium will help showcase varsity athletics at KSU, which completed its transition into NCAA Division I last year.
The 6.5 acres on which the stadium sits is part of 88 acres acquired for the university by the KSU Foundation in 2008 and 2009, which now are being developed into athletics facilities for the university’s growing student population. Over the next few months, the remaining area around the new stadium will be developed into soccer fields, an intramural field, a track and nearly 5,000 feet of nature and hiking trails, enhancing campus life.
Beginning this fall, the Division I Owls will play their women’s soccer home games in the new stadium during the August to November season. With an 11-7-0 record in 2009 and two Atlantic Sun Conference championship wins in the last three seasons, the team is poised for more successes. The stadium also will help attract top soccer talent to KSU.
Construction of the stadium was aided by the leasing partnership KSU forged last year with the newly launched Atlanta Beat, whose season runs from April to September. The newest team in the Women’s Professional Soccer league, the Atlanta Beat also will manage the stadium’s operations and events, which will include festivals and concerts.
“This venue is a win-win for the university, for the foundation and for the Atlanta Beat,” said Norman Radow, chairman of the KSU Foundation. “By partnering with the Beat, we were able to build for our student-athletes a top-notch facility that includes features like the suites that the university could not have afforded otherwise.”
Atlanta Beat owner T. Fitz Johnson selected KSU as the site for his team to play after scouring numerous college stadiums and municipal venues in metro Atlanta. By partnering with KSU, Johnson was afforded the opportunity to have his team play in a world-class stadium –– built from the ground up –– specifically designed for women’s soccer.
“This is the only women’s soccer-specific stadium of this size in the world,” Johnson said. “Through our partnership with Kennesaw State that provides us access to this state-of-the art facility, we are the envy of every other team in the league. The stadium is setting a new standard in women’s professional soccer.”
The Atlanta Beat plays its first home game on May 9 against the New Jersey Sky Blue FC.
To view a photo gallery from the opening, click here.
To read the coverage of the opening in the Marietta Daily Joural, click here.
To view the WSB-TV report, click here.
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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering more than 70 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing and a new Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of more than 22,300 from 142 countries.