This is an exciting and historic time for Oberlin’s athletics and health and wellness programs. On November 15, we broke ground on the Austin E. Knowlton Athletics Complex at Oberlin College, which will replace Savage Stadium. This new, multipurpose, all-weather facility was made possible by an $8 million gift—the largest, single gift in Oberlin athletics history—from the Austin E. Knowlton Foundation.
Like many of you, I have fond memories of watching the Yeoman football team play at Savage Stadium. But the stadium, which is crumbling and used only six times a year for home games, opened in 1925, when Oberlin was just four years removed from beating Ohio State University in Columbus. We remain the last Ohio school to beat the Buckeyes.
Our student-athletes gave the old field a fine send-off by handily defeating Hiram College. Some 1,800 students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends attended the groundbreaking. It was wonderful to see how excited they were about the new stadium, which is scheduled to open in fall 2014. The Knowlton Complex will have lights and artificial turf, a state-of-the-art press box, new grandstands for home and visiting spectators, and a new support facility with home and visitor locker rooms, as well as innovative meeting and social spaces available to the campus community. Six of our men’s and women’s varsity teams will use the field, as will fitness classes and club and intramural sports including ultimate Frisbee, rugby, and soccer.
The new complex will fill a pressing need in the area of athletics and health and wellness and is part of a broader renovation of our outdated fitness, sports, and recreation facilities. The number of students using the Jesse Philips Physical Education Center’s exercise facilities has skyrocketed since it opened in 1971, primarily as a men’s gym. And Oberlin now offers a full slate of women’s varsity and club sports in keeping with Title IX. While we have substantially upgraded the strength and cardio fitness facilities in Philips, it is a struggle to accommodate the growing demands on the gym from our campus and community.
The Knowlton Complex and other improvements will provide great benefits to our students, faculty, staff, and fellow Oberlin residents. We believe the Knowlton complex will also make Oberlin more attractive to prospective students and enable us to better serve the college and the community by hosting a variety of events, competitions, and camps.
That is why improving our facilities and programs is a priority of Oberlin Illuminate, our comprehensive campaign. With your help, we will build a bright future for health, wellness, and athletics at Oberlin.
Marvin Krislov President, Oberlin College