DECATUR – Craig White actually had to laugh. The Millikin director of athletics had heard all the rumors.
“We're in good shape. Everything is good,” he said of the construction projects at Frank M. Lindsay Field.
Maybe even better than good. Not only is everything on schedule, but plans are coming together for a Dedication Day when White is hoping to show off everything to a standing-room only crowd.
The Sept. 27 date will begin with a 11:30 a.m. women's soccer game followed by a men's soccer game at 2 p.m. and the football homer open at 6 p.m.
It will be the first night game at Millikin, putting the new lights, new field, new scoreboard and new track on display. Look to the west and see the giant banners that already adorn Griswold Center.
“I know the kids and the coaches are excited, and that's the fun part,” White said.
The banners have been up for a couple of weeks, part of a beautification project at the university.
“We're trying to do some different things until we know what we're going to do construction wise,” White said.
Progress is also visible around the football field. Drainage fabric was put down and now the layers of gravel are being pushed around.
Wiring has been buried for the new scoreboard, much of which will be delivered next week. Then it's the lights and finally the track surface.
One rumor had been the field was delayed by the need for a drainage pond. That was never the case, White said.
“There never was going to be a drainage pond,” he said. “It wasn't even an option. It wasn't discussed.”
Instead, there is a large cement tank under the field to hold water.
And it should be done in time, although he said there was always the thought it wasn't going to be in place for the first practices.
Football and soccer teams report on Aug. 13. Teams will start practice on their natural grass fields until everything is complete.
The first home soccer match is Aug. 24 against St. Joseph's College.
The football team opens with two road games before having a week off prior to the Dedication Day.