Oberlin College to Overhaul its Athletic Facilities

OBERLIN, Ohio — Thanks to an $8 million gift from the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation, Oberlin College will soon begin construction on a new, state-of-the-art athletic facility. Named for its donor, the Austin E. Knowlton Athletic Complex will offer students an array of recreational opportunities in a modern and attractive multipurpose space.

The new complex, which will be divided between North and South phases, will replace and improve the school’s existing sports facilities. The North phase will focus on the 90-year-old Savage Stadium where the existing grass football field will be replaced by a new turf field. Currently Oberlin is the last school in its division to play on natural turf, which poses problems in the wintertime.

North phase improvements will also include a state-of-the-art press box, improved grandstands and visitor seating, and new lighting. In addition, new home and visitor locker rooms will be added, as well as several meeting and social spaces that will be available to the campus community.

“The new North Complex will be very beneficial for our varsity athletes and our community at large,” said Oberlin President Martin Krislov. “The new field is a great opportunity to get more use out of our field and allow us to do things including community concerts and activities.”

According to Senior Associate Director of Athletics Creg Jantz, the new complex will also make a valuable impression on future Yeoman. “Prospective students will go home and say, ‘I was just at a football game at Oberlin College, and their new facilities are unbelievable.’ Now they will get excited after leaving Oberlin College.”

Work on the South Complex will follow the initial North phase, and will include a swimming pool renovation and the addition of a spacious health and wellness center. This facility in particular will house a fitness center, multipurpose room, athletic training spaces, a wellness classroom and several social and dining areas.

In a release, Director of Athletics and Physical Education Natalie Winkelfoos said, “We are beyond grateful for the Knowlton Foundation’s vision and generosity. The complex will lend itself as a location to strengthen relationships and connect with the greater community. Without a doubt, it will represent the brilliance of Oberlin College as a whole.”

According to Winkelfoos, the new facility will also further support the college’s efforts to recruit top quality students. “I think that our coaches do a very good job right now…but it always helps to have nice facilities to showcase. This will only help us in attracting the best and the brightest,” said Winkelfoos.

Construction on the initial North Complex will likely be completed in the fall of 2014.