With a cut of a ribbon and few shakes of hands, Chadron State College officially welcomed the new-and-improved Don Beebe Stadium, Con Marshall Press Box and Elliott Field in a stadium dedication ceremony Saturday.
The dedication came two weeks after the first football game on Sept. 1, which ended in an Eagle victory over Black Hills State University. With planning happening months in advance around a tight 10-month deadline, the opportunity for a soft opening was the best course of action.
“The planning process for where we make announcements and start looking at the dedication starts months before we know if everything is going to be ready. So we had to pick a date and we went for the Sept. 15 as the next best option,” said Ben Watson, Chadron State Foundation’s major gift officer.
The dedication opened with speeches by CSC President Dr. Randy Rhine, Nebraska State College System Chancellor Stan Carpenter and Chadron State Foundation Vice-Chairman Marjean Terrell. All expressed gratitude to the community as well as vital players such as donors, the Board of Trustees, the Chadron State Foundation and the Nebraska Legislature, who made this complex possible.
“What stands before us today is the testament of the donors, the Foundation, alumni, students and the Nebraska Unicameral to make sure we could bond for this facility and make sure it came to fruition today,” Chancellor Carpenter said.
In the $8.2 million project, $6.2 million came from a bond issue passed via ballot in the Nebraska Legislature. The remaining $2 million was split half-and-half, with the Chadron State Foundation committing $1 million in fundraised monies and the campus committing the remaining $1 million. Watson described the fundraising process as a “fun opportunity,” saying that finding people who wanted to make a difference was a key element in the Foundation’s campaign.
“What it is is about finding the people who want to make an impact, and that the initiative is in line with what they want to support. So we felt the sports complex and football stadium was really an opportunity to talk with our former players as well as supporters across the country and really give them an opportunity to invest in what the future of Eagle athletics and Eagle football looks like,” Watson said.
Several donors expressed their enthusiasm for making an impact on Eagle future, Saturday. Rick Koza, a donor from Chadron and former football player from CSC’s Class of 1973, described the new facilities as “long needed,” saying the improvements are a “fantastic” addition to the Chadron State legacy. Others reacted in happy disbelief.
“I’m still pinching myself!” exclaimed Randy Bauer, a fellow former player and resident of Chadron.
Vice-Chairman Terrell commented on the “energy” on campus stemming from the sports complex, and said the excitement comes from a place of pride for all students.
“It’s not just the athletes that love this,” Terrell said. “It’s everybody that goes, ‘Hey, this is my home.’”
The ceremony concluded with a ribbon cutting, with Dr. Rhine doing the honors as several others, including Chancellor Carpenter and Board of Trustees members, joined along the ribbon line. Each person in the line received a signed football with the autographs of Chadron State football team members.
When it comes to the future of the complex, Dr. Rhine believes it will be a benefit to both campus and community alike.
“I think it’s going to be a great asset not only for Chadron State but also for the community and the region,” Rhine said. “I think it’s a facility that will carry us for some time into the future, and it’s nice to have it completed and functioning.”
The sports complex is one part of the Next Horizon campaign. The future for the campaign involves renovations to the Math and Science building as well as securing