George Fox breaks ground on sports complex

George Fox will break ground on the soccer field at the Austin Sports Complex April 13.A groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the start of construction of the soccer field at George Fox University's Austin Sports Complex is scheduled from 4 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 13, at the complex's location north of the university's Newberg, Ore., campus.

The event will take place, rain or shine, at North Center Street, between Crestview Drive and Mountainview Drive, in Newberg. Construction of the soccer field is scheduled to begin in April, with the completion set for late summer.

With the official deeding of the 23 acres of athletic complex land in March, George Fox increased its main-campus property to 108 acres. The university also owns the 92-acre Tilikum Center for Retreats and Outdoor Ministries in Newberg, Ore., along with a teaching center in Portland, Ore., bringing its overall acreage total to more than 200 acres.

The additional property, located a half mile north of the school’s main Newberg, Ore., campus, was previously deeded to the university by Ken and Joan Austin, owners of the A-dec dental equipment manufacturer, but it wasn't until March 2010 that the deeding became official.

George Fox is now the largest Christian college property owner in Oregon and one of the largest on the West Coast.

The new Austin Sports Complex will include two multi-use synthetic turf fields that can be used for football, soccer or lacrosse, an athletic center building, three grass fields, and a walking/jogging path. The facility will be shared by the university, Newberg High School, local club teams, the parks district and the community.

Phase one of the sports complex project was launched in July of 2009 with the announcement of a $1.2 million lead gift from Brad and Katharine Stoffer and their Boedecker Foundation. Since then, the university received confirmation in October of a $250,000 matching grant designated for the complex.

The matching grant, from an anonymous Newberg family, will match dollar for dollar raised – up to $250,000 – toward the project. The university will use the gift to seek individual gifts and pledges not to exceed $25,000 each and must meet the match by July 1, 2010. As of late March, the university was $35,000 shy of reaching the $250,000 goal.

To date, more than $2 million has been raised toward the project’s $6.5 million goal.

The first phase of the complex calls for the development of 11 of the 23 acres of land through construction of two synthetic turf fields and the athletic center building.

George Fox is partnering with the local parks district to develop the remaining 12 acres in the second phase of the project, which will include the installation of three grass fields.

Learn more about the complex