Hope College for the first time in its athletic history is close to owning its own football stadium.

The Holland City Council on Wednesday (Dec. 19) gave its final stamp of approval of the sale of Holland Municipal Stadium to the college. All that remains is the signing of documents by city and college officials in the coming days.

The stadium, which adjoins the college's outdoor athletic complex on the city's southeast side, has been the home of the Hope football team since 1979. Faced with the need for a significant stadium upgrade, discussions on how that could be accomplished involving city, college and local school officials were initiated a year ago.

The outcome was an agreement whereby the college would upgrade and purchase the stadium. A new artificial playing surface was installed in time for the 2012 season and the lights for night games were upgraded. The stadium was purchased by the college from the city based on an appraisal for $952,350. In addition, the college invested approximately $1 million in stadium improvement prior to the 2012 season.

" We are very grateful for the time and effort by the City to enable this sale," said Hope College President James E. Bultman. "The college has already invested substantially in obvious improvements and will continue to maintain a facility that is conducive to the high standards of the college and the community.  As a tangible expression of our commitment to the City and Holland Public Schools, with whom we have shared this field for the past 33 years, the college will allow its use to both organizations without rental costs."

Hope College and Holland High School have played their home football games on the same field since 1932.  The teams played at the city-owned Riverview Park, 6th Street and Columbia Avenue, through the 1978 season and have shared Holland Municipal Stadium since 1979. College games in the early years (1901-31) were played in open college-owned space where the DeWitt Center is currently located at 12th Street and Columbia Avenue.