June 1, 2018
The longtime dream that started in 2013 has finally been realized. Mayville State University is wrapping up almost all of the fundraising needed to proceed with installation of artificial turf at Mayville State’s football field, Jerome Berg Field. Construction will begin on Monday, June 4, under the management supervision of Zerr-Berg Architects, Fargo.
A groundbreaking ceremony, complete with shovels, will be held Tuesday, June 5, beginning at 2 p.m., at Jerome Berg Field.
Zerr Berg Architects recently awarded bids and will serve as project manager for the turf project.
“The firm has been great,” said Jami Hovet, Vice President for Business Affairs at Mayville State. “They conducted a very comprehensive bidding process, and in that process we learned that our original estimates for the cost and scope of this project needed to be revised upward because of the complex site work that a high quality field requires.”
The MSU Foundation had raised more than $500,000 at that point, but the new field price tag was $750,000. This new and unexpected challenge was met in several ways. First, Mayville State University decided to help.
“We know that student safety and safe facilities matter, “said President Gary Hagen. “We stepped in to do what we could by putting some of our state-allowed equipment reserves into the project. This project is going to transform the athletics program and will pay dividends far beyond our investment. We thank the many people who saw our vision and decided to invest in our success.”
Another factor that helped was an unexpected gift received by the Mayville State University Foundation.
“At our April board meeting, our board members discussed the turf project and the benefits it would offer to the recruitment of quality student athletes and increasing student safety. The board decided to pledge part of a generous undesignated estate gift to the project to shore things up and allow us to move forward,” said John J. Klocke, MSU Foundation Executive Director.
Foundation Board Chair Doug Petersen saw the gift to turf as evidence of a new day at the foundation.
“It’s been a long and fruitful journey to elevate our fundraising efforts to support scholarships over the past six years. Now, for the first time, we can offer support for a capital project,” Petersen said. “It’s a very good time for Mayville State and the MSU Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to help. We could not have done this except that an alumnus had the foresight to leave a gift for MSU that was given to help wherever the need is greatest.”
Another success factor in the funding plan was the football program itself.
“More than 275 individuals and businesses have stepped up to help make this happen, including the football team,” said John Klocke. “Head Football Coach Sean Thom has worked hard to raise money for his program and was willing to put some hard-earned funds toward the project, even when his scholarship needs are high.”
Klocke said the foundation will be incorporating the impressive roster of donors into a special commemorative plaque at the field.
Klocke hopes the wrap-up of fundraising will be as successful as the efforts thus far.
“We’re not completely finished yet. We have some additional fundraising to do to accelerate the project and get it finished by fall,” Klocke said. “An anonymous donor has offered a $30,000 dollar-for-dollar challenge match which could help us use less of Coach Thom’s reserves and allow him to offer more scholarship dollars to prospective students.”
Coach Thom is excited for the installation of turf by the time of the first home game in the fall, the Farmers Bowl on Sept. 8.
“We wanted to put the football program’s money forward too so that MSU and the community could be proud of what will be a real game-changer,” said Thom, who added, “We all have some skin in the game and so many alumni and former athletes have been very generous to us. The football turf gift roster is a virtual ‘who’s who’ of Mayville State athletes, fans, faculty and staff, alumni, and the community. I encourage folks to give a gift so we can accelerate the construction process and be finished by fall, while freeing up some recruitment dollars to get those local players.”
Thom also looks forward to offering football camps next year on the new turf, something MSU has not been able to do in the past.
“Other universities with turf fields have benefitted from these annual camps,” said Thom. “We also intend to see if we can now propose playing the annual Shrine Bowl game right here in Mayville in the future.”
Currently MSU houses and feeds students who attend the Shrine Bowl pre-game camp at Mayville State, but the organization has had to seek turf fields elsewhere to play the annual bowl game, due to safety policies. Now MSU can be a better contender for that part of the Shrine Bowl.
Klocke invites anyone who wishes to be a part of supporting the project and take advantage of the football turf matching funds to send in their gift to the MSU Foundation before the July 1 deadline.
For more information on how you can make a gift to the football field turf project, go to www.mayvillestate.edu/turf or call 701-788-4864.