Oct. 23, 2008
DeKALB - The dust has settled, and the new Northern Illinois Soccer and Track & Field Complex will be officially dedicated this Saturday, Oct. 25 at 11:45 a.m., prior to the Huskie men's soccer match versus Bowling Green which kicks off at noon.
Northern Illinois University President Dr. John Peters, Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher, and Executive Vice President for Finance and Facilities Eddie Williams will be present for the brief ceremony, along with coaches and student-athletes from the NIU men's and women's soccer and women's track and field teams. Alumni from each of the programs have been invited to attend.
"This is a great opportunity for our fan base to see an incredible facility for our track and field program, as well as our men's and women's soccer teams," Compher said. "Without the support of the University leadership, the hard work of project manager Jeff Daurer and his staff, as well as our coaches and athletics facilities personnel, this project would not have been possible. On behalf of our student-athletes, we would like to extend our deepest thanks to everyone involved in making this complex a reality."
Peters, Compher, Williams, and the others in attendance will be "cutting the ribbon" of one of the finest soccer and track and field facilities in the region.
For the Huskie women's track and field team, the facility features an eight-lane track made with a state-of-the-art material that is conducive to both training and competition, and includes an eight-lane straightaway. Thanks to a "sandwich system" that layers two synthetic materials, the new track surface will be nearly impermeable to damage from rain and snow.
For field athletes, the complex provides the space needed to compete at the highest levels. The north zone will house the high jump area. Opposite the high jump is an area for the pole vault, while the west side of the track houses to three jump pits. In addition to top-notch areas for jump athletes, there is a separate area just south of the track for throws. The complex's two shot put rings, hammer/discus ring and javelin runway won't interfere with any running events, helping to shorten the length of meets, and allow for more teams to compete.
With the recent completion of the track surface, cosmetic improvements, including lining of the track, and the addition of equipment, including jump pits, for the field events, are the primary details that remain to be completed before the Huskies can begin to host track and field competitions.
The interior of the track houses the new home of the Northern Illinois men's and women's soccer teams, which the Huskies opened in September and have been competing on during the 2008 men's and women's campaigns. The turf is Fifa 2-Star quality, meaning it measures up to the highest standards of artificial soccer surface available today.
While the Huskies' former grass field was nice, the new surface allows for an all-weather consistency that grass does not guarantee, and extends the time that the teams can practice at the facility because the turf doesn't freeze like grass.
"The advantages provided to our teams by having such a high-quality facility, both for soccer and track & field, cannot be understated," Compher said. "This facility is yet another milestone in our continued journey of developing champions here at Northern Illinois."
Huskie fans are encouraged to arrive early to catch the dedication ceremony, then watch as the Northern Illinois men's soccer team kicks off the NIU-Bowling Green doubleheader beginning at noon, followed by the match-up between the same schools on the football field at Huskie Stadium beginning at 3 p.m.
Admission to the soccer match is free. Football tickets can be ordered in advance on-line at www.niuhuskies.com or over the phone by calling 815-752-6800. Tickets to the football game can also be purchased on game day at Huskie Stadium.