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MVNU, community marks grand opening of CH4 Stadium

MOUNT VERNON (September 1, 2022) — The final phase of a community collaboration was celebrated Aug. 31, as Mount Vernon Nazarene University cut the ribbon for the grand opening of CH4 Stadium.

“This place doesn’t exist without the kind of community involvement that we enjoy here; people of goodwill who support us and share a mission to this community,” said MVNU President Dr. Henry W. Spaulding II during the ceremony.

The completion of the stadium was made possible through an extraordinary community effort that resulted in the construction of multiple buildings and the expansion of Yellow Jacket Drive.

“On behalf of the Ariel Foundation, we are excited to share in the joy and good energy expressed by so many in our community in regard to such a special addition for MVNU and the larger community,” said Jen Odenweller, Executive Director of the Ariel Foundation.  “A collaborative spirit speaks volumes for any community and words like partnership and relationship really do set us apart from others creating some amazing outcomes like this complex, like this entire area surrounding us tonight.”

*See below for additional photos.

The name — CH4 Stadium — comes from the chemical equation for methane, which is the primary component of natural gas. It is a testament to the value of natural gas in our everyday lives, its impact on the local economy, and the bonding power of the Mount Vernon community.

“The vibrancy and energy the students and athletes bring to this space attracts us as a community and gives us a chance to recognize and appreciate the natural resource that underpins our economy, provides jobs, heats our homes, generates our electricity, and reduces emissions. Our community is bonded together and built by CH4,” said Gordon Erndt, Marketing, Ariel Corp.

MVNU Athletic Director Chip Wilson voiced a special appreciation to the student-athletes who waited patiently for the culmination of the stadium, which started with a public announcement for the campaign in November 2018.

“To our student athletes and our coaches – thank you for your patience. This is something we have been working through for a few years and something you all deserve,” Wilson said.

More than 20 donors and project supporters were recognized during the ceremony including members of the Knox County Foundation, Mount Vernon City School District, City of Mount Vernon, Mount Vernon YMCA, Mount Vernon Sting, and other stakeholders who understood the vision of the Education Gateway Project including CH4 Stadium and the Knox County Foundation Community Fields.

“This may seem like a lot of people, but none of this would be possible without each of these people. It took this many people to pull off this collaboration,” said James Smith, MVNU’s Vice President for University Relations. “Collaboration is not always easy but it’s worth the time and effort, and it’s clearly a joy to journey through it together with friends and community members like these.”

Recognized as a project supporter were:

•Ariel Foundation

•Ariel Corporation

•Matt Starr, Mayor, City of Mount Vernon, Mayor

•Brian Ball, Engineer, City of Mount Vernon

•Bill Seder, Superintendent, Mount Vernon City School

•Justin Sandford, Athletic Director, Mount Vernon City School

•Bob Tiell, Former President, Mount Vernon Athletic Boosters

•Denise Conway, President, Mount Vernon Athletic Booster

•Jeff Scott, Executive Director, Knox County Foundation

•Todd Hawkins, Park National Bank

•Mark Ramser, donor; and

•Gordy Yance, donor.

•Nick Clark, Executive Director; Mount Vernon YMCA

•Emily Vonck, Youth Programs and Community Engagement Director, Mount Vernon YMCA

•Tiffany McCallen, President, Mount Vernon Sting Soccer

•Matt Sutter, Principle, Sol-Harris/Day Architects

•Brock Mayes, President, J&F Construction

•Steve Bridgford, Vice President, J&F Construction

•Larry DeSamplere, Commissioner, Crossroads League

A soccer ball stamped and signed by all athletes on the 2022-23 rosters was presented to each of the evening’s special guests, who were instrumental in casting or curating the vision that culminated in the opening of the CH4 Stadium.

Dr. Spaulding closed the ceremony with a prayer of thanks and dedication.

For more information about MVNU visit mvnu.edu. For athletic schedules and results, visit mvnucougars.com.

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, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education both in-seat and online to more than 2,100 students from 42 states and nine foreign countries.

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