The gift will help finance improvements of Joe Etzel Field, formerly Pilot Stadium, which was completed prior to the 1988 baseball season. The stadium was renamed in the summer of 2004 in honor of former Portland athletic director and long-time head baseball coach Joe Etzel.
The Herche family gift is the third gift of $100,000 or more toward the project in the past six months for a total of $500,000. The gifts are part of the University’s RISE Campaign, which was announced in December 2010 and seeks to raise $175 million by 2014. The RISE Campaign, which has raised more than $162 million to date, is one of the largest development campaigns ever for a Pacific Northwest private college or university.
“This multi-phased project is critical for Portland Pilots baseball,” athletic director Scott Leykam said. “It is ambitious for the University, athletic department and the baseball program, but is imperative to take the program to the next level. We will rely heavily on the University of Portland baseball community to make this project a reality in the short- and long-term both as part of the RISE campaign and future fundraising efforts on the UP campus.”
The first phase of the baseball stadium upgrade is currently scheduled to include installing artificial turf, in place of the natural grass field, stadium lights and outfield/perimeter fencing. Pending continued fundraising progress, the athletic department would like to begin construction on the first phase as early as the conclusion of the 2014 season with other phases to follow in subsequent years.
Following the initial renovation phase, a long-term phase II of the project is being developed which will include new grandstands, improved concession and ticketing facilities and baseball specific programming.
The RISE Campaign’s goals are divided into four major themes, each with funding targets: (1) Pursuing academic excellence and faculty funding – $70 million; (2) Providing access for all students and direct assistance – $45 million; (3) Developing faith and leadership – $10 million; and (4) Enriching the campus community and physical resources – $50 million.