Department: Athletics

New turf coming to Turnbull Field at Trusler Complex

December 19, 2014

The Emporia State softball program has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last 11 years, hosting a regional tournament four times during that span. Thanks to major gifts from the Bill and Aloha Preston Family Trust, Trusler Foundation, and Emil Babinger Trust, hosting a regional and other events will be much easier starting this spring as the dirt infield of Turnbull Field will be replaced by a RamTurf artificial playing surface in time for the first pitch of the 2015 season. 

"Our staff and players have worked countless hours over the years maintaining and preparing Turnbull Field for practice and competition," said Emporia State head softball coach Julie LeMaire. "With the completion of this project, our student-athletes will be able to focus on bettering themselves on the field."

"This project will have such a positive impact on the Emporia State softball program and the City of Emporia," said Emporia State Athletic Director Kent Weiser. "We are very grateful to the Preston Trust, Trusler Foundation and Babinger Trust for making this improvement a reality."

The infield replacement continues improvements to the Trusler Sports Complex that began with the construction of the Hanna Family Clubhouse in 2006 and continued with the installation of artificial turf on Glennen Field and the Bill and Aloha Preston Family Scoreboards on Glennen and Turnbull Fields in 2009 and the resurfacing of the parking lot in 2014. The new turf infield is being installed by ATG Sports, the same company that installed the turf infield on Glennen Field as well as the football turf on Jones Field at Welch Stadium in 2005. Turnbull field is expected to be ready for play on March 1, 2015 with the first home game for the Hornets scheduled for March 7 against Lincoln.

“The enhancement of the Trusler Sports Complex aligns perfectly with the interests of Bill and Aloha," said Dr. John Rich, trustee for the Preston Family Trust. "Supporting Emporia State students and Hornet Athletics – especially women’s athletics - was a major priority for them. They spent many pleasant afternoons at the Trusler Complex. The trustees of the Preston Family Trust are delighted to be part of this project.”

Currently the Emporia State softball team is responsible for the game day maintenance and preparation of the field for competition. This required the team to arrive at the ballpark several hours prior to the first pitch to prepare and line the field. During rain delays it was the team's responsibility to tarp the field and then work to dry the field. With the addition of the RamTurf surface, players will be able to get to the ballpark, warm-up and play without the need to spend hours preparing the field. Emporia State will also realize thousands of dollars in savings each year from not needing to purchase chalk, drying agents and clay for the batter's boxes and pitching circle.

Cooperation from the City of Emporia and the Emporia State Facilities staff greatly reduced the actual out of pocket expenses, originally estimated at $180,000. In addition to the lead gifts, funds were raised from friends and families of Emporia State softball student-athletes. The Trusler Foundation also provided funds for a new ticket booth at the entrance to the facility.

"Our softball program is so blessed to continually receive such amazing support from the Preston Trust, Trusler Foundation, Babinger Trust, and so many other selfless individuals," said LeMaire. " I look forward to this being yet another beneficial recruiting tool in our continued success in Division II and pursuit toward a National Championship."

Launched in February 2013, Now & Forever: The Campaign for Emporia State University is a five- to seven-year effort with a working goal of $45 million. It is already the most successful fund-raising initiative in University history, with financial commitments now exceeding $33 million.

The campaign supports student scholarships, academic departments and initiatives that advance Emporia State’s mission to recruit students, teach and retain them, encourage them to graduate with lower levels of student debt, and ultimately put them on a path to a solid career.

For more information about giving opportunities for the Turnbull Turf Project or other Now & Forever gifts, contact Shane Shivley, Foundation Vice President for Development and Senior Associate Athletic director,, 620-341-5440.


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