LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Leaders of Spalding University call a new soccer and softball complex right on the border of west Louisville a win, and the school tried Thursday to kick fundraising into high gear.
Right now, the 7.5-acre site looks like rubble, dust and dirt. But that's not what Spalding men's soccer coach Adam Boyer sees.
"It will be a place to call home for our student athletes and our entire student body," Boyer said. "I'm out here about once a week at this point."
The athletic complex with house NCAA caliber softball and soccer fields for the Spalding programs. It will take over the land at the corner of South Ninth and East Kentucky Streets, which was previously an abandoned industrial site. Leaders said the complex would also be open for kids camps, club teams and the community.
The school took its trustees and city leaders on a tour Thursday, trying to get Louisville power players on board with the vision.
After announcing the project in 2015, Spalding President Tori McClure said the school is less than halfway to its $4 million fundraising goal.
"It's been hard raising money for anything on Ninth Street," McClure said. "It's harder than I thought it would be."
There's competition for donor dollars, particularly people seeing sports complexes in what's currently empty fields in west Louisville. At the corner of South 30th and West Market Streets, just five minutes from the Spalding location, the Louisville Urban League is raising money for a multi-million-dollar track and field complex.
"I hope the donors will talk to the Urban League and talk to Spalding," said Bill Hollander, the Louisville Metro Council member who represents District 9. "I think we have the capacity in Louisville to do both of these projects, and I hope we do."
Spalding's athletic complex is part of a $30 million greening campaign. The school is trying to expand its downtown footprint into west Louisville. Currently, the school's soccer team calls Collegiate Fields home, and its softball team bounces around to several different facilities.
"Spalding University is a pay-as-you-go institution," McClure said. "We use our student tuition dollars for education. We don't use it to buy buildings or build playing fields. So we need to raise the money to make this dream a reality."
Boyer said the complex would be a game-changer for his players and hopes the community will see it as a win.
"They're excited," Boyer said. "It's a huge tool in recruiting right now for us."
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