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Softball takes another step forward with new facility

June 16th, 2020

Softball groundbreaking

Bethel softball celebrated an infrastructure milestone with the June 4 groundbreaking for a new building.

Representatives from the college and Vogts Construction were on hand at Wedel Field on the Bethel campus with hard hats and shovels to kick off construction of a combination locker room and clubhouse.

“Two years ago, a parent of a current player came up with the idea of [this kind of building],” said Bethel softball head coach David Middleton. “That suggestion built into a vision that two years later has become a reality.”

He said that he along with the parent, Bethel Athletic Director Tony Hoops, founding softball coach Stacy Middleton, and some current players and softball alumni met with a group of influential female business leaders out of Kansas City.

“This meeting set the groundwork for new donor connections for Bethel College that allowed the building to become a reality so quickly,” Hoops said.

The building will include a locker room, officials’ room, public restrooms, a concession stand, a covered patio and a team laundry room.

“Having restrooms at the field will be a much-needed amenity,” David Middleton said. “In the past, players, fans and opposing teams had to use the [Voth Hall] restrooms, which created security concerns [and were] very difficult for many of our fans who are elderly and handicapped to use.

“Overall, this is a much-needed facility, and it began with a vision and a belief in our program by one of our parents. Along the way, there have been many others who have helped make this a reality, such as [Bethel President] Jon Gering, [Bethel Vice President for Institutional Advancement] Brad Kohlman, Tony Hoops, and a long list of donors.”

“Our softball program started with literally nothing nine years ago,” Hoops said, “and now we are building a premier on-campus facility that will allow all of our students to enjoy the excitement of women’s softball.

“This project is the perfect example of taking a vision someone had and then working together with many parts of campus to make it a reality,” he continued. “Advancement, athletics, alumni, maintenance, President Gering and the lead donor all worked very strategically on this project with a local company, Vogts Construction. It was a true team effort.

“[It] is [also an] example of how Bethel College has advocated, and continues to advocate, for women’s athletics on our campus. I look forward to the amazing atmosphere this project will create for our community, alumni and students.”

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel is the highest ranked Kansas private college, at #12, in Washington Monthly, Top 200 Bachelor’s Colleges; ranks at #23 in U.S. News & World Report, Best Regional Colleges Midwest; is Zippia.com’s highest ranked Kansas small college with the highest earning graduates; stands at #57 among 829 U.S. colleges and universities listed by lendEDU as “Best for Financial Aid”; has the #10 RN-to-BSN program in Kansas according to RNtoBSN.com; and earned its second-straight NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star gold award, based on student service and academic achievement, all for 2019-20. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu 

In sports, Bethel competes in the 13-member Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference and the NAIA. See bethelthreshers.com

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.