Outdoor sports will get a boost from the new Jets Sports Complex, now complete on Central Campus.
The Jets Sports Complex, located on the northeast corner of Central Campus, includes improved facilities for baseball and softball teams. Improved stands, press boxes, dugouts and lighting for the ball fields, as well as a new building with concession stands, restrooms and storage. Soccer teams may also benefit from paved walkways and nearby restrooms.
"Our facilities were outdated, they hadn't been updated in years," said Jeremy Frew, chief academic and student affairs officer. "They needed updating, but the vision was bigger than that. We wanted to create a space that was inviting for the community and that we could share with the community."
Designs for a College/Community Facility
Coaches and college administrators began discussing upgrades to the facilities years ago, softball Coach Jamie Vandenburgh said. As teams became more competitive and coaches started having more and more prospective athletes visit, the need for updates grew. Vandenburgh and baseball Coach Rick Smith both cited a need for improved dugouts.
"We would host summer tournaments, and our facilities weren't quite up to where some other facilities were," said Smith, who has been with the College for 17 years. From there, President Daniel J. Phelan cast a vision for what the facility could be, with improved, heated dugouts – important for early spring softball and baseball games – lighting for night games, press boxes and improved stands, and a building for restrooms, concessions and storage. Athletic Director Courtney Ivan, Vandenburgh, and Smith were all involved in the design phase, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic delaying completion, everyone is pleased with the final product.
"It's nice to have our field this year," Vandenburgh said. "A lot of the teams coming to play us have shared how beautiful it is, and our own players love it."
This construction was helped by a generous donation from the Alvin Glick Foundation. Local high schools and community groups have already used the complex, and the regional baseball tournament for the Michigan Community College Athletic Association brought more than 300 visitors to campus. Response from players, parents and the community has been very positive, with many remarking on the facility and campus.
"We will do as much as we can to have the community here using the facility," Frew said. "We want this to be an inviting atmosphere, from the lighted fields to the concessions and restrooms nearby. We're excited about the new possibilities!"
The ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration will include brief remarks from college leadership and light refreshments.
If any high school or community groups would like to use the facility, reach out to A.D. Courtney Ivan in the Athletics Office, at 517.796.8628.