Pictured left to right: Athletic Director Dan Kenney, Dick Taylor, and Chancellor Allen C. Meadors
While the completion of the first phase of construction is nearly finished at the UNCP Soccer Fields and Track Facility, the vision for the future of the project has just begun.
UNCP student-athletes and the community will see a significant improvement in the quality of facilities immediately after the facility opens, with a state-of-the art soccer field and track; however the complex will not be complete. The facility will lack a field house that includes critical features such as locker rooms and offices, stadium seating, a press box and a scoreboard.
To obtain these amenities and make the Soccer Fields and Track Facility one of the elite facilities in the nation, The University is announcing a phase two fundraising drive with a goal of raising nearly $1 million.
"We (The University) are very excited about the opening of the Soccer Fields and Track Facility," said UNCP Chancellor Dr. Allen C. Meadors. "It will serve our students and community extremely well in the days ahead. Phase two will be the finishing touches that will make it a quality facility. We hope that once finished, it will be utilize for district and regional high school events when available."
UNCP Director of Athletics Dan Kenney added, "being able to get the university commitment and have the community get excited about our phase two project will allow us to present to the UNCP community and our athletes a first class facility. The addition of a field house, stadium seating and other needed amenities will be extremely positive."
When phase two is complete, the facility will have a new field house that will include locker rooms for both the men's and women's teams, coaches' offices and public restrooms, an electronic scoreboard and stadium seating for approximately 3,000 persons. Field lighting was installed as part of phase one.
"I think all of the coaches are very excited about having a new track and field complex for this coming year," said men's soccer head coach Mike Schaeffer. "The facilities are something that have been badly needed. They will help us to recruit student-athletes to the four programs. This first phase has provided us with what the athletes need. The second phase will enhance those by improving the atmosphere for the athletes, and for the fans. As designed, I think it could end up being one of the top two of three facilities in the nation at the Division II level."
As Chancellor Meadors said, University officials hope the facility becomes not only a focal point for the UNCP community but for Robeson County, and southeastern North Carolina. It is The University's willingness to allow community groups to use its facilities that has, in part, helped it to secure its first donation of the phase two campaign. UNCP has been a long time supporter of not only the Special Olympics, but the regional Senior Games as well.
Lumberton businessman Dick Taylor has spent a lifetime participating in track and field, including competing in the Regional Senior Games for the past few years. While Taylor has won the state senior games title in the long jump and in the 200 and 400-meter dashes on several occasions, he said none of it would be possible without UNCP. Taylor's state championships have always begun by first competing at the local level at UNCP's facilities.
"We have wonderful people in the senior games," said Taylor. "The University has done so much for us in letting us put them on. Former (UNCP) Chancellor (Dr.) Joe Oxendine often came out and competed with us."
Taylor's affection for the senior games, UNCP and Robeson County have led to him donating no less than $50,000 to kick-off the phase two campaign.
"Pembroke is such a terrific asset to the county," said Taylor, "and Robeson County has been tremendous to me for the 49 years I've been here. Pembroke has been wonderful to the senior citizens of our area, and to the senior games. If we didn't have the facilities of UNCP and the people who run them, we wouldn't have the games at all."
Taylor's affection for the senior games is so strong, that he credits them for helping to save his life. Several years ago Taylor had heart problems, and his doctors told him he probably would not have survived had he not been as physically fit as he was. Taylor was in excellent shape because he trained year-round for the senior games.
Taylor was a track-and-field star at UNC-Chapel Hill in the late 1940's, and he has participated in athletics ever since. Taylor is also a generous benefactor to his alma mater, endowing a scholarship in addition to other contributions. UNCP track and field head coach Larry Rodgers said now UNC-Pembroke will be indebted to Taylor.
"Dick's generous contribution has provided a great start for our campaign to raise money for phase two of our soccer and track complex," said Rodgers. "He has always been a big supporter of athletics, and I am delighted he has chosen UNCP to show his continuous love and dedication."
Persons interested in making a donation to the phase two campaign can send their contribution to: Dan Kenney, Director of Athletics P.O. Box 1510 Pembroke, NC 28372
For more information contact Dan Kenney at 910.521.6371 or firstname.lastname@example.org