SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Evangel University has started construction on its new 70,000-square-foot state-of-the-art sports complex that will host an array of university sports programs.
The complex includes Valor Center, which will be a 40,000-square-foot arena hosting the university’s volleyball and basketball teams. The arena will include team locker rooms, practice and training facilities and new courts for each team’s home games.
The center also will include a concourse with concessions, a gathering space, VIP lounge, additional meeting rooms and staffing offices. Visitors and students will be able to gather for pregame and postgame happenings at the Valor Center’s south entrance plaza.
In addition, the Randy Rowden Training Facility will occupy 30,000 square feet on the south end of the new complex and host mostly logistical offices and operations for Evangel’s soccer and football teams. The training facility will include a top-tier weight room, the athletic director’s office, a 2,500-square-foot event and meeting space and VIP box seating overlooking Coryell Field, where the soccer teams play.
Other additions to the campus include a renovation of Walther Hall dormitory and installation of an artificial turf field for intramural sports.
The new complex and facility upgrades are part of Evangel’s “Here. Now.” campaign, which has currently raised just over $18 million.
Together, the new projects represent the first major building efforts on the campus since the ground breaking of the Ralph M. Riggs Administration Building in 2009.
“There is incredible momentum happening on Evangel’s campus right now,” Senior Director of Marketing and Communications Erin Hedlun told The Heartlander. “There are so many exciting developments taking place both currently and in the future as we look to construction of the Valor Center. I think our Evangel community and students collectively are excited about the opportunity to come together in community spaces that haven’t existed before on campus.”
Hedlun says the positive community response has been overwhelming and, whether it’s related or not, enrollment for this year’s fall semester saw an 11% increase while universities nationally are witnessing declines in their enrollment.
Evangel University has recently updated the student union, renovated the chapel and now looks ahead to complete the campus’ $24 million “Here. Now.” fundraising campaign. Hedlun says the university also would like to remodel all dorms on campus and build a new sports stadium.
“When we complete this first (project), we’re hoping it tips the domino to fundraise and move on to the second one,” she said. “This is Evangel’s season and moment to step into the light. I think we offer something really important for students who are really looking to pursue their education in a place where everyone collectively across campus will speak into their life through the lens of a biblical worldview. I think right now there is a real need for that in higher education. We’re really excited and looking to see the next step here.”