Field house proposal for students

Field house proposal for students

Kelly Johnson, News Reporter

Over the last few years, executives at Winona State University have been discussing a potential field house to be built where the current baseball field sits. The idea has been loosely constructed from an idea into a proposal.

Scott Ellinghuysen, vice president of finance and administration, said the scope of the project is currently in the works.

“The project is currently at what we call the pre-design level, which means simply something that determines the possible cost, size and scope of the project,” Ellinghuysen said.

Winona State President Scott Olson said the project is still years out from actually being built, but it is an idea that will be proposed to the student body and has already been loosely discussed with Student Senate.

Olson said the idea for the building stems from a need for a largescale event area for commencement and concerts.

The field house would be a place for yearlong activities as well, according to Olson.

Other universities have a recreational building like the proposed field house. For Winona State, the closest space would be McCown gym, but the gym has gotten smaller.

“McCown isn’t really a field house, it is an excellent basketball and volleyball court, but it isn’t really big enough that in January you could play flag football in there, or a largescale event like a concert,” Olson said.

McCown is also no longer large enough to hold free for all commencement ceremonies, leading to the commencement ticketing process that now occurs.

The project, Olson explained, is currently presented as a three-phase plan.

Phase one of the plan is the construction of the field house itself: the four walls, the roof and the grassy field and track.

Scott Ellinghuysen explained the cost of each of these phases. For just the field house at a capacity of 5,000 people, the estimated price is $25,200,000 and funding would be obtained through donations as well as fees worked into tuition, similarly to the wellness fee that Winona State students currently pay for the Integrated Wellness Complex.

Phases two and three account for the remaining are estimated at $49,300,000 and include building new locker rooms and sports offices for football and soccer as well as building a glass wall banquet hall to host university and community events, overlooking Lake Winona and Sugar Loaf.

“[Phases two and three aren’t] something that we would ask the students for, because that would really be more about alumni community and private funding,” Olson said.

As of right now, the project is still being worked out and discussed.

Winona State currently does not own the home located on the property where the field house would be built, and the university has no intention of removing the family from their home. All of this property would need to be obtained and the current baseball field would need to be torn down and relocated before the field house could be built.

President Olson said he hopes next fall the idea can be brought up again to Student Senate, leading to a discussion on how this project could potentially become a reality.

Olson added he hopes Student Senate can then take the proposal to the student body, holding perhaps, open forums for a pro-con debate.

Olson said he understands the student body might decide they do not want this and he is OK with that.

The project will be similar to how the Integrated Wellness Complex was built 10 years ago, according to Olson. Olson said students need to be able to serve as visionaries for now to help benefit Winona State’s future students.

Student Senate President Christina Melecio said the senators will make their decision based off the opinions of their constituents.

“I know that Senate will make a decision based off their constituents,” Melecio said. “It sounds cool, but will require a lot more thought.”