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MLC athletic center fully funded, groundbreaking in April

NEW ULM– The Martin Luther College (MLC) administration and governing board announced that thanks to the gift of two donors, the MLC new athletic center is fully funded.

In April, the MLC campus family will celebrate the groundbreaking of the fieldhouse, with student use anticipated by the beginning of 2022.

The athletic center, named the Betty Kohn Fieldhouse, will be located at the MLC Athletic Field Complex west of the main campus, near the soccer and baseball fields. This 36,000-square-foot indoor turfed facility will feature large practice areas, baseball and softball batting cages, golf simulators and locker rooms.

The facility will not be used for games, but will serve as practices space. MLC Director of Public Relations William Pekrul said students will have priority use of the facility, but the school is looking into some community use.

After extensive interviews, analysis and research, MLC’s comprehensive campus site plan identified two priorities: residence space and indoor athletic space for sports teams, physical education training and student life. For that reason, an athletic center and a residence hall were included in the facility improvement pillar of the ECW campaign.

Fundraising efforts for this project have been ongoing for about a year and a half. The pandemic put a pause in the campaign, but the two recent donations have helped restart the project.

MLC has received gifts from many individuals, congregations and schools throughout the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and from the New Ulm community. Those gifts provided a financial foundation for facilities.

MLC President Rich Gurgel said:

“We are thankful to God for the generosity of so many people. The Betty Kohn Fieldhouse will serve our student body well. It is also a significant beginning to our long-range plans for making our campus even more attractive to prospective students. And we look forward to exploring how the fieldhouse can serve the recreation needs of the New Ulm community as well.”

MLC is continuing the funding campaign for new residence space. The most recent residence hall was built on the campus 50 years ago. In addition to more living space, the students require additional collaborative space in the halls. The residence space is estimated to cost $10 million.

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