Purdue Calumet Breaks Ground for Athletics Complex

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Purdue University Calumet celebrates an historic day in its rising sports program with the Monday, December 9, 2013 groundbreaking of an outdoor athletics facility at nearby Dowling Park.

Thanks to generous support by the City of Hammond and Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr., development of the Purdue University Calumet Athletics Complex, announced originally in 2011, is commencing.

Dowling Park r

The complex (above photo) will be developed in phases. The $5+ million first phase features construction of artificial surface soccer, baseball and softball fields. Subsequent development calls for the addition of six tennis courts; walking path; and a plaza area to include restrooms, concessions/refreshments area, press box, athletic training facility and service/storage/utility buildings.

Development of the athletics complex is part of a wide-ranging partnership between Purdue Calumet and the City of Hammond. While the City takes the lead in funding the complex, Purdue Calumet is directing its support toward city and regional economic development and cultural initiatives. Those initiatives include emerging commercialization and manufacturing centers, as well as engaging with the downtown Towle Theater to advance performing arts and ethnic activities.

Purdue University Calumet and the City of Hammond will enjoy public, state-of-the-art sports facilities in softball, baseball, soccer and tennis, as well as a walking path along the entire park,” McDermott said. “Purdue Calumet is a major asset to the entire region. As mayor of the largest city in the region, I feel this partnership is critical to the future of our area, residents and the university.”

Plans call for the soccer, baseball and softball fields to be completed by next August for use by Purdue Calumet teams during the fall season of the 2014-15 intercollegiate athletics year. Further planning has yet to be finalized.

“The development of a truly viable outdoor complex for our expanded athletics program is one of several components that, when ultimately combined, will produce a stronger, richer and more appealing Purdue University Calumet,” Chancellor Thomas L. Keon said. “It is exciting to be able to take this next step of development, thanks to the support and vision of Mayor McDermott and our corporate partners.”
Those corporate partners include Fifth Third Bank, Community Hospital, Albert’s Jewelers, PepsiCo and The Times Media Company.

McDermott views the athletics complex as another mutually beneficial opportunity to advance Hammond. “This complex is the latest in a series of improvements and investments in which Purdue Calumet and the city have collaborated for the betterment of Hammond,” the mayor said. “The pending commercialization and manufacturing centers also offer great potential, as does the relationship established with the Towle Theater. Working together, we can achieve even more!”

In addition to university men’s and women’s soccer squads beginning play at Dowling Park next fall, baseball and softball teams also likely will play a limited number of games before competing in a full schedule during spring 2015. All athletic facilities will be available for use by the city when Purdue Calumet activity is not scheduled.

“The mission of Purdue University Calumet athletics is to guide and support our students in their quest to achieve academic, athletic and social excellence,” Purdue Calumet Athletics Director Rick Costello said. “The Purdue University Calumet Athletics Complex will enable us to continue to recruit outstanding student athletes. Quite simply, new athletic facilities will allow our athletics program to compete for excellence now and in the future.”

Dowling Park is located in Hammond’s Hessville section, one mile southeast of campus, east of Kennedy Avenue and just north of Interstate 80/94. Purdue Calumet fields 12 varsity sports programs.

In addition to men’s and women’s soccer, baseball and softball, Peregrines teams compete in men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s volleyball and men’s golf.

Comments of . . . Purdue University Calumet Athletics Complex Corporate Partners

Mayor McDermitt at groundbreaking

(Purdue University Calumet alumnus and Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott inside the Jean Shepherd Community Center immediately following the ground breaking of Purdue University Calumet's outdoor athletics complex in Hammond/Dowling Park in the Hessville neighbor of Hammond, on Monday, December 9, 2013) 

“Purdue University Calumet and the City of Hammond will enjoy public, state-of-the-art sports facilities in softball, baseball, soccer and tennis, as well as a walking path along the entire park. Purdue Calumet is a major asset to the entire region. As mayor of the largest city in the region, I feel this partnership is critical to the future of our area, residents and the university.”
Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. Mayor, City of Hammond

“Fifth Third Bank is proud to expand its ongoing partnership with Purdue University Calumet to include sponsorship of the Peregrines’ softball field. This is a great evolution of our work together, and we look forward to seeing it come to life by hosting students, athletes and residents of Northwest Indiana.”
Craig Pratt Market Executive, Fifth Third Bank of Northwest Indiana

“Community Hospital and Purdue University Calumet have had a strong partnership for many years. We are proud to expand the relationship and help support the new outdoor sports facility serving student athletes in our region.”  
Donald P. Fesko, FACHE Chief Executive Officer, Community Hospital

“Albert’s Diamond Jewelers and the entire Halpern family are excited and honored to be part of the beginning of what we know will be an incredibly beneficial addition to Purdue Calumet and our entire community. As the adage goes, diamonds last forever; we’re proud to be part of a bigger diamond here today and an even bigger piece of forever.”
Josh Halpern President & Co-Owner, Albert’s Diamond Jewelers

“PepsiCo is honored to be the exclusive beverage partner for Purdue University Calumet. We are thrilled to be a part of the groundbreaking events for the new Dowling Park and look forward to engaging in many more student and athletic initiatives in the upcoming years.”
Kevin Desmond, Sr. Sales Manager, PepsiCo Foodservice

“The Times is proud to support this unique partnership between Purdue University Calumet and the City of Hammond. It is a testimony of how varying parts of our government can work together for the good of all. I am pleased to salute Purdue Calumet, Mayor McDermott and the City of Hammond for setting an example of productive cooperation.”
Chris White Publisher, The Times Media Company

(photos:  courtesy of Jay Stevens)


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