Higher education

Mount Mercy begins grading fields, laying foundations for new athletic facility

'Full construction mode'


Mount Mercy University announced in June a full outdoor athletics facility would be built on a 22-acre plot of land adjacent to the university

The new facility, named the Robert W. Plaster Athletic Complex, will include baseball and softball fields and will house men’s and women’s soccer and both track and field programs.

The Mustangs also will use the facility for community outreach through the Jumpstart program, which aims to help children in Cedar Rapids reach their education potential through leadership and academic lessons found in sports.

The Robert W. Plaster Foundation gave the naming gift to Mount Mercy. The $16 million project also has donations from other people and groups, and are looking for names for several of the stadiums, Rob Callahan, vice president for administrative, enrollment, and student services said.

The softball complex will be called Busse Filed, however, Callahan said.

Completion of the project is slated for August 2017, and the new complex will provide Mount Mercy student-athletes with a home-field advantage for the first time, Gavin said.

“We’ve been fortunate to have good relationships with some local high schools and some other folks who have stepped up to help us,” Gavin said. “It’s tough creating that atmosphere you like at home games because you’re away from campus.”

What’s happened since

“We are under full construction mode now,” Callahan said. “The excavation of the site, we’re hoping will all be completed by the end of next week.”


With excavation out of the way, Callahan said the project focus can turn to the grading of the fields and laying foundations for the locker room building and other structures at the complex.

The facility is being built east to west, with the grass practice field being completed first. Callahan said he hopes seeding for the field will be completed this fall.

The softball complex, multipurpose stadium and baseball complex will follow.

Calllahan said they hope to have the turf components installed throughout the complex by Thanksgiving.

“We’re going to make sure it’s done for the long term, meaning if it starts to get on the borderline of the temperatures you need to install that artificial turf, we will hold off a little until we’re in a good window,” he said.

Construction of the complex is weather dependent, but there are weather contingency plans in place should Mother Nature not cooperate with the construction schedule.

“Our goal all along was to be done by next August. We are right on track for that,” Callahan said. “To this point, we haven’t incurred any major surprises.”

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