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Athletics play an integral role in the student experience at Wilkes – now and for past generations of students and student athletes. The dedication of Colonels on the playing field, past and present, calls for athletic facilities that match their commitment. Students athletes now and in the future deserve premier athletic facilities.

High demand is spurring much-needed renovations to transform the field from a single-sport site to one that will accommodate five intercollegiate sports -- football, women’s lacrosse, women’s hockey and men’s and women’s soccer -- and the men’s club lacrosse team. The field will also be used for intramural games.

“The work at the Ralston Athletic Complex will provide a multi-purpose athletic field that will provide a new competition field for more than 200 of our student-athletes,” said Vice President for Student Affairs, Paul Adams. “The installation of the lighting system affords us the opportunity to schedule contests and practices in the evening when it is more conducive to student class schedules.”

The $1.6 million project is the first step in Phase I of $3 million in planned multiple purpose renovations at the Ralston complex. Preparation of the site, including grading and drainage work, began during the week of May 17.

The project has been planned to emphasize sustainable practices. These practices include the recycling and re-use of tons of topsoil removed to install the new turf and also recycling of the wood and steel from the home bleacher area. The new lighting system is the Light-Structure Green system manufactured by Musco Sports Lighting. The energy-efficient system directs more light onto the playing surface and avoids the energy waste of spill and glare light.

Future work at the Ralston Athletic Complex will include the construction of a building for concession, comfort facilities and meeting rooms, a formal entrance to the complex, new bleachers and more. A timeline for further renovations will be developed, pending the launch of a fund-raising campaign to raise the remaining $1.4 million. 

The fund-raising campaign includes the opportunity to name the new stadium in honor of Coach Rollie C. Schmidt, as well as other areas of the Ralston Athletic Complex.

Phase I of the project is expected to be completed in time for the football home opener versus Waynesburg University is on Saturday, September 11, 2010 at noon.

All football alumni will be honored at this game. Special recognition will be given to alumni and friends contributing to "The Kick-Off Club". Special events are being planned for this weekend - SAVE THE DATE!!!

For more information on contributing to the renovations to Wilkes University’s athletic facilities, please contact Susan Dantona Jolley, Wilkes University director of donor relations, at 570-408-7832 or susan.jolley@wilkes.edu.