Construction will soon begin on a new stadium to serve the Hope College soccer program and Holland-area sports and recreation community.

The stadium, with an estimated construction cost and maintenance endowment totaling $5.3 million, will be located on the site of the college's existing soccer fields along Fairbanks Ave. near 11th Street.

"This is a continuation of our efforts to revitalize the eastern gateway to downtown Holland and Hope's campus," said President James E. Bultman.

The soccer stadium has been designed to compliment the college's nearby Wolters softball and Boeve baseball stadiums and De Vos Fieldhouse which have all opened over the past four years.

President Bultman also noted that it is an opportune time for this project because of its ability to stimulate the local economy through construction jobs and from the business that will be given to material suppliers and service providers.

This project is being made possible by a leadership gift from a generous donor which will fund the majority of the project, according to President Bultman. The naming gift will be revealed Friday, May 1, during an 11:30 a.m. groundbreaking ceremony at the stadium site. The public is invited to attend.

"Hope College is committed to excellence in programs and facilities that enable faculty, staff and students to perform at the highest levels. We are grateful for this and other gifts which are enabling the continuation of construction of quality academic and athletic facilities that are allowing Hope to serve generations of students to come," President Bultman said.

The stadium will accommodate an estimated 1,400 fans in stadium-style and bleacher seating.  There will be accompanying terrace areas for picnicking and tailgating.  There will be a concession stand, public restrooms, a first aid/training room, two full locker rooms for Hope's teams, a meeting room for visiting teams, a ticket booth and a press box.  The field surface will be of artificial turf and there will be stadium lighting for night contests.

The architect is GMB Architects and Engineers of Holland and the construction manager will be GDK Construction of Holland.

The project is scheduled for completion in time for a dedication tentatively scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 17 when both Hope soccer teams have a home game.

Hope has sponsored intercollegiate soccer for men since 1963 and for women since 1989.  Both programs have distinguished themselves at the conference level and in the NCAA.  Since 2002 the programs have combined for seven Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships. Over the past five seasons the teams have a combined home field record of 72-17-5.

"This stadium will be a dream come true as we seek to elevate the visibility of soccer in the Hope and Holland communities," men's soccer coach Steve Smith said.

"The women's soccer team is looking forward to having the privilege of playing in what we think will be one of the finest small college soccer facilities in the country," women's soccer coach Leigh Sears said. "The stadium will provide our players and fans with a playing and viewing environment that will be unmatched around the region.  The Flying Dutch soccer team is very grateful to those who have made this new stadium possible."