Groundbreaking ceremony held

Several key University athletics officials gathered behind the Bierman Field Athletic Building on Tuesday morning to witness the dawn of a new era for women’s athletics.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held to honor the construction of the new women’s softball stadium, which will be built in place of the old softball field site behind the Bierman building.
The new women’s softball stadium will be equipped with both grandstand and stadium seating. The two-story building will include restrooms, food services, athletic training, a press box and team meeting facilities. The entire project will cost $2.6 million.
The new stadium’s expected completion date is Friday, March 31, 2000 when the Gophers host Iowa in a Big Ten doubleheader.
John and Sage Cowles, who also attended the ceremony, donated $1 million to the project.
“Sage and I were at the ceremony for two reasons. The first was that good athletes need and deserve good facilities. The second was for gender equity. We have long been interested in equal opportunity for girls and women. We wanted to do what we could to help the University and this seemed like the best way,” said John Cowles.
Other funding for the stadium was provided by the Minnesota State Legislature, which appropriated $1 million for the project.
The Gophers have always used the same field behind Bierman building for games, but are anticipating the completion of the new stadium.
“I think the athletes are looking forward to playing in the new stadium,” said Bruce Wolse, softball contact for the University Sports Information Office.
The new stadium may also make it easier for the University to recruit new athletes.
“I feel it’s a great advantage in recruiting players,” Wolse said.
— Elizabeth Bogut