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  • Indiana Tech is building the $15 million Warrior Park athletic facilities on land that was the Donald Ross Golf Course on South Calhoun Street. (Courtesy images)

  • A rendering of the softball field, part of Indiana Tech's Warrior Park, is shown. The college held a ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday.

Friday, May 04, 2018 1:00 am

Indiana Tech begins work on Warrior Park

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

To those holding umbrellas and dodging puddles, Thursday offered less than ideal weather for the Indiana Tech Warrior Park groundbreaking.

But for those in suits, university President Karl Einolf suggested the light rain offered a benefit: softer ground for the ceremonial digging.

“Keep going – you've got a lot of work to do,” someone called out after the celebratory moment.

Indeed. Indiana Tech is building athletic facilities, including a softball stadium and a track and field complex, on the Donald Ross Golf Club property on Fort Wayne's south side.

The groundbreaking happened about a year after Indiana Tech announced – and subsequently withdrew – plans for athletic facilities at Memorial Park, a proposed location that met staunch opposition from veterans and their descendants.

Indiana Tech closed on the South Calhoun Street golf property March 19 for an undisclosed price.

“We're happy to be on this side of town,” Einolf said.

He noted it isn't unusual for colleges – especially those landlocked like Indiana Tech – to have off-campus athletic facilities.

Indiana Tech's main campus is east of downtown between Maumee Avenue and East Washington Boulevard.

Athletic Director Debbie Warren said the university is looking forward to the possibilities the $15 million project will bring students.

“I'm excited and feel very blessed to be part of this project,” she said.

Plans include a multipurpose building with space for the wrestling program and permanent facilities for the softball and track teams, which for years have used facilities elsewhere in the area, said track coach Doug Edgar and softball coach Stephanie Zimny.

Although the facilities will offer the sports different benefits, such as an artificial turf field for softball, both coaches said the new amenities should positively affect recruitment.

The development is planned for the golf course's back nine, which has room for future growth, officials said. Indiana Tech is keeping the front nine as a golf course, which is open to the public.

University officials expect the site will provide learning opportunities for students, such as those studying sports management.

“Obviously, we're very excited about the opportunities here,” Einolf said.

asloboda@jg.net