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Community partnership progresses MVNU stadium project

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Mount Vernon Nazarene University’s Soccer and Lacrosse Stadium has received a lead funding pledge from The Ariel Foundation. The dollar-for-dollar match will assist MVNU’s efforts to fund the sports complex that will be utilized by MVNU’s athletic teams, community youth leagues and the Mount Vernon High School programs.

“We see this stadium and community fields development as a quality of life enhancement for all ages — from children in youth soccer programs to parents and grandparents who would regularly enjoy seeing their family members play for recreation and at competitive levels,” said Jen Odenweller, executive director of The Ariel Foundation.  

The $2.7 million stadium project will include a turf field, lighting, seating for 500, locker rooms, restrooms and concessions, among other amenities. A full-size grass field will further expand practice and competition space for MVNU athletic programs.

The 15-plus acres of Community Fields will feature five full-size grass fields that will have the capabilities to be relined to adjust to specific age-group needs.

“Our university had a pressing need for a lighted turf field to accommodate the needs of our expanding athletic programs,” said James Smith, MVNU Vice President for University Relations. “We considered multiple locations on our property, but were drawn to this location, due to the potential for community wide collaboration. We believe this is the best use for this part of our property. It will be a clear visual statement that we are united in our desire to partner in ways that strengthen this community. We see this location as strategically important for the university, the local schools and the youth sports of our community. We are so thankful that The Ariel Foundation shares this vision for community-wide collaboration, and led the way to make this dream become a reality.”

The location of the complex, adjacent to MVMS/HS and just south of Mount Vernon Avenue, was strategically chosen to connect with Mount Vernon City Schools and the city’s Memorial Park, which is home to thriving baseball and softball leagues and major tournaments. These partnerships, in addition to potential collaboration with the Mount Vernon YMCA and the Mount Vernon Youth Soccer Association, will further the use of the complex for tournaments at every level and establishes a multi-level athletic and recreation district.

“Our community’s strength is in building relationships. The Ariel Foundation highly values the formation of partnerships that enhance quality of life while having an economic impact,” said Odenweller.

“MVNU seeks to be a meaningful part of life in Mount Vernon,” said MVNU President Dr. Henry W. Spaulding II. “From our beginning, we have released our faculty, staff, and students to points of service in the community. Many of our graduates stay in the area to work and engage on civic initiatives.  We hope that this new partnership with Mount Vernon City Schools and the City of Mount Vernon will further enhance our community. Our partnership with The Ariel Foundation significantly strengthens our capacity to serve our students and others in the community. MVNU is proud to be in Mount Vernon.”

For more information about how you can be involved in this project, please contact MVNU Development Office at 740-397-9000, ext. 4300, or visit

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and several convenient Graduate and Professional Studies locations throughout the state, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education to more than 2,200 students from 31 states and 22 countries/U.S. territories.