Kennesaw State celebrates opening of third phase of 88-acre sports and recreation park

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Final phase expands sports and recreation facilities for enhanced student life

For more information, please visit: http://www.kennesaw.edu/sportspark/

KENNESAW, Ga.  (April 30, 2012) — Student life at Kennesaw State will become more interesting and exciting with today’s opening of Phase III of the university’s sports and recreation park. Thousands of KSU students will experience an array of athletic and cultural events as the sports park unveils nine new fields, an NCAA-regulation track and a nine-acre lake all adjacent to the 8,300-seat stadium that will host sporting events and concerts.

The newly completed section of the 88-acre sports and recreation park, funded by student fees, features five synthetic-turf fields, two natural-turf fields, one intramural field, two warm-up fields and four sand volleyball courts. In addition to the track and lake, the facility also includes a 9,000- square-foot amenities building and a .92-mile walking/jogging trail.

“The KSU Sports and Recreation Park is an important addition to the university’s infrastructure, providing students with much-needed facilities,” said Kennesaw President Daniel S. Papp. “Quality academics and a vibrant campus life are part of any top university. With the completion of Phase III of the project and additional student housing set to open in August, Kennesaw State is well on its on way to competing at the national level.”

The first phase of the park, which opened in October 2009, featured two state-of-the-art synthetic-turf fields and the 16,000-square-foot Owls Nest indoor training facility. Phase II encompassed the stadium, which opened in May 2010 and was the site of the 2011 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)  Division I Women’s College Cup in December.

Similar to the momentum Kennesaw State has experienced in intercollegiate athletics since becoming an NCAA Division I school in the fall of 2005, club and intramural sports also have flourished at the university. Since the opening of the Owls Nest, participation in intramural and club sports has increased by 30 percent.

According to Jerome Ratchford, vice president for Student Success, the addition of KSU’s Sports and Recreation Park has had a positive effect on campus life.

“There has been a real sense of pride and excitement among the students ever since the opening of the Owls Nest,” he said. “Now with the completion of the sports park, KSU has further demonstrated its commitment to making the university a destination campus.”

Prior to completion of Phase I, KSU had only a 1.7-acre field on the main campus for intramural and club sports. Club teams had to practice in fields as far away as Woodstock and Alpharetta because of the lack of facilities. 

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Papp also introduced Marty Elliott as KSU’s new executive director and general manager for the KSU Sports and Recreation Park and stadium.

“We are fortunate to have someone with Marty’s wealth of knowledge and experience join Kennesaw State,” said Papp. “Her excitement and enthusiasm rivals that of the students. I am confident that under her leadership the sports park and stadium will enhance the university and surrounding community.”

Prior to joining KSU, Elliott served as director of major events and business development for Clemson University. In her role, she successfully managed operational budgets exceeding $1.3 million and event budgets of more than $2 million annually for more than 500 events each year.

Papp also recognized the KSU Foundation for its help in acquiring the land and financing for the facility.

KSU Foundation Chairman Norman Radow said he is pleased with the results. “The field and facilities are among the best in the country,” he said. “The KSU Foundation stands committed to ensuring that KSU becomes a university of national excellence, and with today’s opening, more students will now be able to enjoy a truly spectacular sports and recreation environment.”

The architectural firm of Lose & Associates created the overall plan for the project and Choate Construction Company was the builder.

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 80 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 24,100 from 130 countries.