Bethel University Board of Trustees Approves Construction of $3.9 Million Athletic Training Facility

Lissa Diaz

At their fall meeting, the Bethel University Board of Trustees gave approval to break ground on a $3.9 Million Athletic Training Facility, to be built on Bethel’s campus. Construction is expected to begin in the spring with completion by the end of 2020. The building is funded by donations from Bethel’s GROW campaign, with $284,000 still being raised for equipment and furniture to furnish the inside.

The facility will provide training space and equipment primarily for Bethel’s national champion track and field teams, and will serve all student athletes by opening up space in facilities across campus that are currently used for track and field training. The building project serves the GROW campaign goal of adding 200 student-athletes by 2023.

“Having a home for our track and field athletes to practice will free up space in the Wiekamp Athletic Center, allowing us to use that space for additional teams and student life activities,” says Athletic Director Tony Natali.

Natali notes that the men’s and women’s track and field teams have won 13 national champions in the past decade, even while having no home facilities.

“For years, students have trained in unconventional ways,” he says. “For example, in the winter, pole vaulters practice on the basketball court in Gates Gymnasium, and sprinters practice on a makeshift straightaway in the basement of a residence hall. We’ve embraced these challenges as a way to build team spirit, and now we will move into a new era of having facilities designed for our athletes. We’re excited to see what the future holds.”

The facility will be a long, narrow building with a 100-meter track straightaway, areas for pole vaulting, shot put and discus practice, and exercise space for use by all athletes.

Bethel President Gregg Chenoweth, Ph.D., says “Our five-year plans add five-10 academic programs, space for hosting campus guests and fitness facilities for additional athletic teams. But this Training Center supports more than athletics -- intramurals, summer camps and student activity life functions there as well.”

He notes that the training center comes on the heels of two additional, donor-funded capital projects: two new computer science labs in Fall 2019 for academic work in Computer Science and Cyber Security, and in 2020 the Van and Jean Gates Welcome Center, funded by the Gates family, in support of a 60% increase in prospective student and family visitors over four years.

For more information and to give towards the $284,000 for equipment and furniture, visit


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