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Phase I of MVNU stadium complete; First-Knox major contributor

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Phase I of the Mount Vernon Nazarene University Soccer and Lacrosse Stadium is complete, according to Vice President for University Relations James Smith.

Phase I consisted of the turf field, lights, fencing and the scoreboard. The stadium was first used for men’s lacrosse and men’s soccer scrimmages during Homecoming, Nov. 15-16, 2019 — just one year after the project was announced.

The completion of the initial phase of the construction is due in large part by a substantial donation by First-Knox National Bank. This $150,000 gift is a major contribution toward the overall $2.7-million project that includes stadium seating for 500, a press box, concession area, restrooms, a full-size grass practice field and patio seating.

“It is good for the community, and when the community is successful, so is First-Knox,” said bank President Bob Boss. “The stadium will bring people who will stay here, eat here and shop here, which helps our customers. It’s also good for the university, Mount Vernon High School and our youth.”

“MVNU is grateful for our continued partnership with First-Knox National Bank,” said Dr. Henry W. Spaulding II, MVNU president. “Their contribution to the turf field project will enable the university to provide a quality athletic experience for our students and for the community.”

According to Smith, the stadium, located near the intersection of Yellow Jacket and Cougar drives, emerged from the significant growth of MVNU’s expanding club and varsity teams. Since the announcement, the project has grown to also include the Community Fields, which provides opportunities for local youth sports leagues and associations.

“The day we stepped on that turf was amazing,” said Ryan Farr, head men’s lacrosse coach. “Instantly, being an MVNU athlete meant partaking in a higher quality experience. This facility is something our student-athletes can be proud of.”

“The first time we got to practice on the new field was the last couple weeks of the season when we were prepping for nationals out in California,” said Sarah Maracani, head coach for women’s soccer. “The atmosphere out there, especially under the lights, is incredible and we are very thankful for that. It was exciting for me as a coach to see the smiles and excitement of the players when they stepped onto the field for the first time.”

Lacrosse will open its home play on the field March 7. Alumni games for men’s and women’s soccer teams are being planned for this spring.

With over 60 percent of the total project secured, fundraising for Phase II is well underway, focusing on construction of the stadium which includes seating, press box, parking lot, restrooms and locker room. Once funding is secured, construction of the stadium will begin.

“It has been humbling to see the ways in which MVNU’s faithful donors and friends have made this project go from an idea to a reality in just over one year. We are thankful for their part in what God is doing at MVNU,” said Justin Nowicki, Assistant Vice President for Development. “There is still $500,000 in matching funds available, as well as many naming opportunities, which can be a great way to honor a special athlete, loved one or group of teammates.”

“Facilities in many ways reflect a university’s commitment to the student-athlete experience and our recruits are seeing what athletics means to MVNU,” said Farr. “Seeing a finished turf field has been a major first step and excitement is building about the possibility of seeing locker rooms, bleachers and the finished product.”

“Casting a vision for prospective student-athletes of what our facility could be is much different than it being unveiled right before their eyes. The turf field has given our program an air of legitimacy when working with top recruits,” said Head Men’s Soccer Coach Zach Ganzberg. “It’s exciting to dream of what is to come. Once complete, this project is capable of ascending MVNU soccer and lacrosse to new heights, establishing niche powerhouse programs with expansive reach and impactful platforms.”

To learn more about Phase II, as well as naming opportunities, 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 29 states and 14 countries/U.S. territories.