Purdue University Calumet Sets Groundbreaking For New Outdoor Athletics Complex

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Published on December 5 2013 3:13 pm
Last Updated on December 5 2013 3:13 pm
Written by Millie Lange

HAMMOND, Ind. - Purdue University Calumet will celebrate a new and significant chapter for a changing university during a groundbreaking and reception for its new outdoor athletics complex at Dowling Park, Monday, Dec. 9.

Festivities begin at 2 p.m. inside the Jean Shepherd Center at the south end of Dowling park.

The future home of Purdue Calumet men’s and women’s soccer, baseball, softball, and men’s and women’s tennis squads is located one mile southeast of campus, just north of Interstate 80/94 and east of Kennedy Avenue.

Development of the Purdue University Calumet Athletics Complex is part of a wide-ranging, multi-faceted partnership between Purdue Calumet and the city of Hammond, led by Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. While the city takes the lead in furthering the Dowling complex, Purdue Calumet is advancing several economic development and cultural initiatives in Hammond.

“Mayor McDermott has been consistent and unwavering in his commitment to develop this complex,” Purdue Calumet Chancellor Thomas L. Keon said. “It will be a facility that is essential to our emerging athletics program, and it also will be a complex the city of Hammond, its teams and residents can use and enjoy.”

Soccer, baseball and softball fields will be developed during the first phase of the Dowling complex. Plans call for the fields to be completed by next August in time for the start of the 2014-15 intercollegiate athletics year. Phase two, still in the planning stage, includes development of six tennis courts.

The complex has been in the works since collaboratively announced by McDermott and former Purdue Calumet Chancellor Howard Cohen in spring of 2011.

Keon values the benefit of a thriving athletics program that attracts student athletes who want to continue their sports career while pursuing a Purdue degree.

“Athletics is one of several pieces of a comprehensive, value-rich Purdue Calumet that is positioning itself to enhance northwest Indiana’s higher educational landscape,” Keon said. “We are learning firsthand the multi-faceted benefit athletics offers to our campus and community.”

On the heels of the Purdue Calumet women’s basketball team qualifying for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II tournament last March, university student athletes for the fourth consecutive semester last spring compiled a collective grade point average that exceeded 3.0 (‘B’ average) on a 4.0 scale. What’s more, in compliance with academic eligibility standards, the university’s student-athletes are making satisfactory degree progress while carrying full course loads.

“Since 2010, Purdue Calumet has grown to 200 student athletes, thus increasing enrollment and retention on campus,” Athletics Director Rick Costello said. “Our student athletes have been ambassadors on and off campus... Besides academic and athletic achievements, they have been active in the community, enabling the university to earn a fifth straight NAIA Five Star Champions of Character award.”

Purdue Calumet fields 12 sports teams—in men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, cross country and tennis; women’s volleyball and softball; and men’s golf and baseball. The Peregrines’ women’s basketball squad is ranked 18th nationally in NAIA Division II, while the men’s team is off to its best season start in program history with an 8-1 record.