updated: 12/10/2013 7:35:24 AM
Purdue University Calumet and the City of Hammond are partnering on a multi-million dollar sports complex. Officials broke ground on the project Monday in the Lake County city and plan to have it ready next fall.
December 9, 2013
HAMMOND, Ind. - Purdue University Calumet celebrates an historic day in its rising sports program with the groundbreaking today (12/9) of an outdoor athletics facility at nearby Dowling Park.
Thanks to generous support by the City of Hammond and Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr., development of the Purdue University Calumet Athletics Complex, announced originally in 2011, is commencing.
The complex will be developed in phases. The $5+ million first phase features construction of artificial surface soccer, baseball and softball fields. Subsequent development calls for the addition of six tennis courts; walking path; and a plaza area to include restrooms, concessions/refreshments area, press box, athletic training facility and service/storage/utility buildings.
Development of the athletics complex is part of a wide-ranging partnership between Purdue Calumet and the City of Hammond. While the City takes the lead in funding the complex, Purdue Calumet is directing its support toward city and regional economic development and cultural initiatives. Those initiatives include emerging commercialization and manufacturing centers, as well as engaging with the downtown Towle Theater to advance performing arts and ethnic activities.
"Purdue University Calumet and the City of Hammond will enjoy public, state-of-the-art sports facilities in softball, baseball, soccer and tennis, as well as a walking path along the entire park," McDermott said. "Purdue Calumet is a major asset to the entire region. As mayor of the largest city in the region, I feel this partnership is critical to the future of our area, residents and the university."
Plans call for the soccer, baseball and softball fields to be completed by next August for use by Purdue Calumet teams during the fall season of the 2014-15 intercollegiate athletics year. Further planning has yet to be finalized.
"The development of a truly viable outdoor complex for our expanded athletics program is one of several components that, when ultimately combined, will produce a stronger, richer and more appealing Purdue University Calumet," Chancellor Thomas L. Keon said. "It is exciting to be able to take this next step of development, thanks to the support and vision of Mayor McDermott and our corporate partners."
Those corporate partners include Fifth Third Bank, Community Hospital, Albertís Jewelers, PepsiCo and The Times Media Company.
McDermott views the athletics complex as another mutually beneficial opportunity to advance Hammond.
"This complex is the latest in a series of improvements and investments in which Purdue Calumet and the city have collaborated for the betterment of Hammond," the mayor said. "The pending commercialization and manufacturing centers also offer great potential, as does the relationship established with the Towle Theater. Working together, we can achieve even more!"
In addition to university men's and women's soccer squads beginning play at Dowling Park next fall, baseball and softball teams also likely will play a limited number of games before competing in a full schedule during spring 2015. All athletic facilities will be available for use by the city when Purdue Calumet activity is not scheduled.
"The mission of Purdue University Calumet athletics is to guide and support our students in their quest to achieve academic, athletic and social excellence," Purdue Calumet Athletics Director Rick Costello said. "The Purdue University Calumet Athletics Complex will enable us to continue to recruit outstanding student athletes. Quite simply, new athletic facilities will allow our athletics program to compete for excellence now and in the future."
Dowling Park is located in Hammondís Hessville section, one mile southeast of campus, east of Kennedy Avenue and just north of Interstate 80/94.
Purdue Calumet fields 12 varsity sports programs. In addition to men's and women's soccer, baseball and softball, Peregrines teams compete in men's and women's tennis, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, womenís volleyball and men's golf.
Source: Purdue University Calumet