Fieldhouse close to groundbreaking

By Derek Shore

Sports Editor


Following two six-figure donations in early August plus a $20,000 donation a few weeks later, Crowder College is closer than ever to breaking ground and reaching its $1.4 million goal of building a new Roughrider Fieldhouse.

“We are getting very, very close to reaching our goal,” Crowder Athletic Director John Sisemore said, who remain only $350,000 away. “We have a couple of other deals in the works that we hope will put us at our goal in the next 30-to-60 days. We are looking forward to reaching that goal and announce a ground breaking date sometime very soon.”


Future Freeman Fieldhouse, Home of the Crowder Roughriders

Crowder is the only Region 16 program that does not have an indoor facility to help accommodate all of its sports. As of right now, all four sports teams share the gymnasium, barring inclement weather. Sisemore said the project has always been an idea as the athletic department was behind in terms of state of the art facilities.

When he took over as athletic director in 2015, Sisemore met with Vice President of Student Affairs Tiffany Slinkard and decided to put the field house at the forefront.

“We decided we would pursue this and move forward,” Sisemore said. “Here we are today.”

The fieldhouse is 100% donor funded, a first for Crowder.

“We are happy to see that it is going to be a success,” Sisemore added. “For athletics, it is hard to tell people what athletics actually means to colleges such as Crowder in support. We get so much residual support year-after-year-after-year for people who have come to Crowder College because of athletics.”

Sisemore said each year there are about 125 students who participate in athletics and they do a survey with those athletes about how many would come to Crowder if they were not student-athletes.

“About 98% of them say the reason they are at Crowder College is because of their participation in athletics,” Sisemore said. “It is a big draw for us. It helps us as far as a college to generate some publicity and it brings in 120 additional students every year. That residual effect just keeps continuing year-after-year-after.”

The 15,600 square-foot fieldhouse will provide an indoor facility for practices as well as baseball and soccer locker rooms, concessions, restrooms and office space. It will be located near Sneller Gymnasium and the athletic fields. The fieldhouse will also be named after Freeman Health System, which donated $350,000 for the building. Sisemore said a timetable to complete the construction of the fieldhouse has not been set which pends board and administration approval.

For two Crowder soccer players, there are many benefits they see in the fieldhouse down the road.

“I think it would a great advantage for future athletes, especially for the soccer players,” sophomore Eloi Bassene said. “It will finally give the soccer team their own locker rooms to change rather than having to change in one of the gym classrooms.

“It will also be a positive look for Crowder as other visiting teams come to play,” sophomore Andrew Browning added. “They too will have a place to change rather than having to change over at the YMCA.”

With the addition of a fieldhouse, Crowder will move to a more competitive playing field versus their regional and district opponents.

“I think we have had such great community support,” Sisemore said. “Our local community and with the money that they have donated and helped and people within Crowder College, who have been such a great support.

“Our administrators and board of directors have been a huge support of this. They have been helpful in trying to help us achieve our goal. Without our board of directors and administrators, helping us procure these funds and move forward in the process, we would have never gotten to this point.”

“We have had such good blessings. It has been a great time for everybody,” Sisemore concluded.