New look: Beloit's Strong Stadium set for renovation dedication
BELOIT The four-month renovation project at Strong Stadium in Beloit will be in full display Saturday.
Beloit College is holding its dedication of the renovated facilities, capped by the Buccaneers' home football opener against Carroll University at
6 p.m. on the new FieldTurf field at the stadium.
Thanks to $3.7 million in gifts from various school boosters, the project included the installation of a new track and the artificial surface on the Strong Stadium field.
The new turf and donations allowed the college to add both women's and men's NCAA Division III lacrosse teams to its varsity sports.
"It's enormous for all of us, not just the athletic teams,"
Director of Athletics Peggy Carl said at the start of the project. "It's an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to have a safe place to come to exercise, run and walk.
"It will benefit the overall health and wellness of the college. Our club sports will have a place, and our baseball and softball teams will be able to get out of the field house in the early spring when their own fields aren't ready, but they can do things on the turf.
"I can't overstate the importance of this project to the college. I couldn't be more thrilled," Carl said.
The track now has eight lanes. The old six-lane track had deteriorated to a point that it wasn't used.
Beloit hasn't hosted a track meet since 1997.
College President Scott Bierman said in a letter to the campus community he hopes to see a revival of the Beloit Relays—once one of the nation's premier collegiate track and field events. The Relays, which began in 1937, were last run in 1979.
A new digital scoreboard also has been installed.
The FieldTurf football field has a drainage system. The installation of artificial turf leaves Grinnell and Lawrence as the only Midwest Conference schools that play on natural grass.
The Buccaneers do not play a game on natural grass this season.
Football coach Chris Brann said the new surface allows the Buccaneers to practice in any weather condition without worrying about damaging the surface.
"It will also help us with summer programs, like football or band camps," Brann said at the start of the project. "We'd like to host some high school playoff games in the future. This can be just a great tool for the institution."