Posted: Sunday, March 9th 2014 at 8:33am
Brenau to use land donation for athletic park
Brenau University’s new athletic complex will stand next to the Milliken plant in New Holland,.Brenau softball players, from left, Cheyenne Marsh, Jenny Shepherd and Mackenzie Oliver are shown on the still-undeveloped site.
GAINESVILLE - South Carolina-based Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, Inc., has donated a 16.8-acre tract of land on the east side of Gainesville for the development of a multipurpose athletics park. The site is about two miles northeast of the university’s main campus in Gainesville.
The land, which lies along Jesse Jewell Parkway (U.S. 129 and Georgia Highway 369) adjacent to the Milliken & Company's New Holland Mill, will be the site of a $4.4 million project that includes development of “home field” facilities for the Brenau Golden Tigers intercollegiate soccer, softball, and track and field programs.
The site plan also incorporates walking and jogging/walking paths and other available for public use and special programs, like “movies on the green” and other entertainment and family recreational opportunities for those in New Holland, Gainesville and the surrounding region.
“We envision the Brenau Athletic Park as a vital community asset in an area that has only begun to see significant commercial and residential development,” said Brenau President Ed Schrader. “We are grateful that Pacolet Milliken shares the vision and through its generosity has made it a reality.”
“Pacolet Milliken’s roots are grounded with the Milliken family,” said Richard Webel, president of Pacolet Milliken. “The New Holland community has been an important part of our history, and we are pleased to support Brenau’s vision of how this land can be put to use for the university and the community as a whole.”
Schrader said construction on the first phase of the project will begin as soon as possible so the softball facilities will be ready for home games in the spring of 2015. The initial phase will include the site development, a softball field and bleachers, parking, and a field house.
“We see this development as another community asset,” he added. “Certainly we want people from all around to come as spectators for softball games, track meets and soccer matches. But we also want them to come and play and enjoy recreational opportunities for the whole family.”
The second phase of the project will begin as soon as Brenau assembles the appropriate financial support. That phase includes the creation of a traditional football field-size turfed area surrounded by a track for sprints and long-distance races – addressing needs of the Golden Tigers new track and field team, the soccer team and future teams engaged in field sports.
Mike Lochstampfor, the Brenau athletics director and head coach of the No. 17-ranked Golden Tigers soccer program, said that the development of the complex will produce a major asset for recruiting top athletes. The soccer team currently uses as its “home field” the Allen Creek Soccer Complex, the Hall County public park located about four miles from campus.
Softball, also ranked No. 17 in the preseason national coaches’ poll, uses the city of Gainesville’s Lanier Point Softball Complex, located about four miles in another direction from the campus. The track and field team, which in only its second season is the defending Southern States Athletic Conference champion, also has no permanent home.
The site currently is open land, a terraced tract located roughly between the well-trafficked thoroughfare and the Norfolk Southern Railroad right of way near the intersection of Jesse Jewell Parkway and Myrtle Street.
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