By Cassidy Grom | Echo
The Turner Plaza and additions to the football and soccer stadium greeted students as classes began this week.
The Turner Plaza replaced the concrete walkways outside Odle that were in "disrepair," according to Vice President for University Advancement Ben Sells. The plaza area features a propane fire pit and sitting area. The plaque nearby states that the plaza "was made possible by a generous gift from the Turner Family Foundation in honor of Paul and Betty Turner."
In a mid-August email to faculty and staff, President Eugene Habecker said, "(Turner Plaza) provides an area for University gatherings throughout the year as well as for events at Odle Arena, Turner Stadium, and Winterholter Field. The area will also help accommodate chapel and other events held in Odle this fall."
Ron Sutherland, vice president of business administration, said that most of those trees were already infected with ash borer or tip borer insects that have been a regional problem.
"We didn't take down the trees for that purpose or we didn't have a goal of frustrating that (hammocking process); it is just that the trees were already compromised," Sutherland said.
Eric and Cyndy Turner, the son and daughter-in-law of Paul and Betty Turner, donated money in order to complete the nearby football and soccer stadium. In the southwest corner there is now a pergola on a concrete incline. Sells said the pergola is reminiscent of the times when spectators would gather on a hill near the south end zone before the stadium was renovated in 2012.
In addition, there is a new press box. It is the same size as the old press box, but has a new design including two outdoor sitting areas. The new press box is divided into more compartments for both home and away media teams.
"(The sitting areas) are not an all-weather type of thing," Sells said. "It works when the weather is conducive to it."
Black mesh with the Taylor University logo now covers the fence parallel to the north end-zone and new brick pillars were added that match the stadium's entrance.
Members of the Turner family will participate in a dedication ceremony for the plaza before the traditional Wagon Wheel game on Saturday.