The symphony of bulldozers moving large amounts of dirt, clay and cement has recently added themselves to the soundtrack of life on Mercer’s Campus. To accompany the noise, a black fence has blocked off an area of through-traffic that connected the east side of campus to the west. Students and faculty alike have had no choice but to notice the massive amounts of construction that is happening on the south side of campus. However, no one has explicitly stated what the construction is for, and, as a result, rumors have filled the air.
It is common knowledge that Mercer has reinstated at football team after a 70-year hiatus. The inaugural season has been scheduled for fall 2013; the need for a football stadium and the timing of this reinstatement coincides perfectly with the current state of construction.
The question then becomes: is the construction that is encroaching on the various driving spaces, the intramural softball and intramural soccer fields for the new football stadium?
To address this question, Larry Brumley, Senior Vice President for Marketing Communications, confirmed the rumors floating around campus about the construction of the new football stadium. The site work that is underway on the south side of campus is indeed for “the intercollegiate football program, which will resume competition in the fall of 2013.” In addition to the football field, the preliminary construction site work underway is also “for the field and field house to serve as home for Mercer’s intercollegiate lacrosse program, which began competition last spring.” The projected price tag for the field house and field with turf is around $6 million, none of which is being drawn from educational funds or other Mercer resources, but rather being funded based off of donations and fundraisers.
In an interview conducted earlier this year, Jim Cole, Mercer University’s Athletic Director, offered a brief comment about the size of the stadium. He stated, “We don’t want a big stadium… We’re looking at around 6,000 seats.” However, in a more recent interview, Larry Brumley stated that “Architectural plans for the stadium are still being finalized, and more details about the seating capacity and configuration will be announced at the formal groundbreaking ceremony during Homecoming Weekend.”
As Homecoming Weekend approaches, more information about the details of Mercer’s plans for the future of the athletics program is being revealed. As far as groundbreaking for the construction of the football field is concerned, the groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11th.