Recent upgrades to Allen Wedel Field, the home to the Bethel College softball team, made the facility arguably one of the best on-campus softball facilities in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Bethel upped the ante this week with the announcement of a new clubhouse for the four-year old facility.
Bethel is in its eighth-season of softball. Wedel Field has been the home for the Threshers since 2015. It was dedicated to Wedel, a longtime supporter of BC softball, in 2017.
The clubhouse will be nearly 2,600 square feet (56 feet by 48 feet) and will be adjacent to the softball field, which is located on the southeast part of the campus.
Amenities will include a locker room and players’ lounge, a coach’s office, a locker room for umpires and laundry facilities.
Also included in the project is a 20-foot by 48-foot covered patio, a concessions stand and rest rooms.
The facility will be constructed by Vogts Construction Company of Newton.
"The softball clubhouse project will be a major addition to the on-campus field we currently have," BC athletic director Tony Hoops said. "We have seen steady improvements each year within the field, this project will make our softball field one of the premier fields in all of the KCAC and a wonderful asset to the Bethel Campus environment."
"This will be unlike any other campus facility in the KCAC," coach David Middleton said. “… It gives the team a place they can call their own. All athletic programs need a space they can call home. This gives our softball players that space."
"The completion of the clubhouse will enhance the softball game fan experience tremendously," Hoops said. "Having on site restrooms, a concession stand, patio covered viewing tables, and a locker room for our student-athletes will create an elite gameday experience."
Currently the nearest restrooms are located in a dormitory. The closest locker rooms are across campus at Goering Hall and Thresher Gym.
"Currently our athletes and fans are having to use restrooms within a nearby dormitory on campus, Hoops said. “The addition of the clubhouse will provide not only a better venue but ensure the security and privacy of all students on campus."
"We've seen people come for the first-part of our double-headers, and then leave because of the lack of food, the distance of the restrooms,” Middleton said. “Our second-half of the double-headers then lack fan support. This will hopefully change that, and create a better experience for our fans."
According to Brad Kohlman, the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Bethel College, private donations have paid for the project.
"Bethel College is grateful for the donor who not only provided the lead gift for this facility, but is working with us to secure additional funding through business partners and connections," Kohlman said. "This stand alone part of the Engage the Future Capital Campaign will provide a significant impact for the entire Bethel College community."
Groundbreaking is expected to take place in the fall.
The upgrades to the softball facility come on the heels of upgrades to the tennis facility, which recently dedicated a new clubhouse with restrooms, a player’s lounge, coaches office, concession stand and patio areas; upgrades to Thresher Stadium, which included a new scoreboard and turf; and Thresher Gym, which included new scoreboards and a table for scorekeepers, time keepers, the stats crew and media.