Newberg, Ore. (Vocus) July 10, 2009
A combined $1.2 million lead gift from Brad and Katharine Stoffer and their Boedecker Foundation will allow George Fox University to begin the first phase of construction on the Austin Sports Complex and moves the university closer to adding NCAA Div. III football and women's lacrosse teams.
The gift, announced at a fundraising event held July 9, is the first major donation toward the $6.5 million project. The multi-use sports complex is to be shared by the university, the Chehalem Park and Recreation District, Newberg High School, local club teams, and the community. It is located a half mile north of the George Fox Newberg campus at the corner of North Villa Road and East Crestview Drive. An illustration of the five-field project is available at http://www.georgefox.edu/austin-complex/index.html .
"This gift will allow us to create more venues for leadership training and character development," said George Fox University President Robin Baker, "The Stoffers have joined the Austins in investing not only in the university, but in the lives of student-athletes and youth from around the region."
"We're excited that this may make it possible for George Fox to reestablish football, but we're just as pleased to be able to help the university provide first-class facilities to its students and the community," Brad Stoffer said. "Our son has had a great experience at George Fox and we're glad to be part of this community."
Stoffer Family Stadium
The Stoffer gift will fund much of the construction of the Stoffer Family Stadium, which includes a multi-use synthetic turf field that could be used for soccer, football and lacrosse. The university has begun fundraising for the remainder of phase I of the Austin Sports Complex, which includes a synthetic turf soccer field and a multi-use field building. The university will partner with the Chehalem Park and Recreational District to fund phase II of the project, which will include three grass fields.
Brad Stoffer is Dealer Principal of Smith CFI, an office furnishings corporation in Portland, Ore. The Stoffers helped fund the Boedecker Foundation, which supports youth causes around the world. Brad serves as a board member.
Board Considers Football
George Fox University fielded a football team from 1894 to 1969, but dropped it primarily for financial reasons. The university's board has been considering adding football since 2002 and has requested a feasibility study from the administration. George Fox is a member of the Northwest Conference, which competes in the non-scholarship NCAA Div. III.
Austin Sports Complex
The Austin Sports Complex will be built on 24 acres of land pledged in 2002 by Newberg philanthropists Ken and Joan Austin. The gift was part of a 36-acre donation intended to promote community partnerships between George Fox, Newberg Public Schools, and Newberg Christian Church. The three organizations will share parking and site development costs. Joan Austin Elementary School was built in 2004 on the land donated to the school district. The Austins are the owners and founders of A-dec, the world's largest dental manufacturing company, and are longtime supporters of the university. Ken is a member of the George Fox Board of Trustees.
Dundee, Ore.,-based The Saunders Company is serving as general contractor. Design work is being completed by W&H Pacific, a Northwest engineering consulting firm. Previous W&H Pacific projects include the Nike World Campus expansion and athletics fields at the University of Portland and University of Washington.
Preparation for the complex began in the summer of 2007, when the university spent $1.5 million on street and site improvements.
Expansion of baseball and softball facilities
In addition to constructing the Austin Sports Complex, the university is launching a community campaign to improve the existing baseball and softball fields, which will be expanded once the existing soccer field moves to the new complex.
NCAA Athletics at George Fox
George Fox offers 15 intercollegiate sports - eight for women, seven for men. In addition to football, the university is considering adding swimming and women's lacrosse. The university is one of only two schools in the Northwest Conference to win multiple national NCAA team championships, claiming a women's basketball title in 2009 and a baseball title in 2004.
About George Fox
George Fox University is the only Christian university in the Pacific Northwest classified by U.S. News & World Report as a national university, and Forbes.com ranks George Fox highest among the Christian colleges on the West Coast. More than 3,300 students attend classes on the university's campus in Newberg, Ore., and at teaching centers in Portland, Salem, and Redmond Ore., and Boise, Idaho. George Fox offers bachelor's degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, five seminary degrees, and 12 master's and doctoral degrees.
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