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Saint Mary Spires football will get a home game for the first time in its history, with the opening of its new football/soccer complex

LEAVENWORTH — The college sports experience at the University of Saint Mary here is about to get a lot more convenient and more enjoyable for Spires fans and athletes. The university has announced plans to build a new football/soccer complex at the main campus in Leavenworth. Construction is scheduled to be completed in time for the men’s and women’s soccer alumni exhibition games on Aug. 23.

USM will build the complex north of McGilley Field House on the northwest side of campus, along Hughes Road. The project will utilize an existing incline to incorporate bleachers-style seats for 1,000 fans, two patios, goalposts, a new scoreboard, a climate-controlled press box with seven rooms, and sidewalks from the parking lot to the bleachers section that are wheelchair accessible. The location will allow USM to use existing locker rooms in McGilley. The field house, which opened in the summer of 2004, was the last major construction project on campus.

The Spires football team has been playing at neighboring fields since the team was first established in 2000, playing the past two seasons’ home games at Platte City High School. The football team first played at Abeles Field in Leavenworth, moving to Lansing High School in 2004.

“We want to thank all the athletes who’ve ever played football at Saint Mary,” said head football coach Lance Hinson. “They built the reputation for quality athletics that is now allowing us to build this complex.”

USM is inviting all its football alumni to a big tailgate party at 11 a.m., before the first home football game at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 20. The Spires will square off against Bethel College at the new football/soccer complex.

All soccer alumni are invited back for soccer alumni exhibition games on Aug. 23. The women’s game is at 1 p.m., followed by the men’s game at 3 p.m.

The Spires soccer teams have played home games on campus since their inception in 1990, most recently on the field north of McGilley, minus the new amenities planned for the new complex.

“Our football players and soccer players, not to mention our coaches, fans, and our entire Saint Mary community, are very excited this new complex is coming to fruition,” said Rob Miller, athletic director and head baseball coach. “It’s a thrilling time in Saint Mary athletics history, and we know it will have a major impact on our ability to recruit new athletes.”

The new football/soccer complex announcement coincides with the launch of GoSpires.com, a new Web site devoted exclusively to the eight varsity sports teams at USM.

The site features information on all the teams, a video tour of the sports facilities, and audio messages from each of the coaches. Visitors will also be able to watch construction progress of the football/soccer complex on the home page of GoSpires.com. Photos will be updated weekly.

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The Leaven

The Leaven is the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

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