Big gift kick-starts Western’s on-campus soccer goal

Western Washington’s Vikings have a dream of playing their home soccer matches on campus.

Recently that goal moved closer to becoming a reality with a large donation to the cause.

The Vikings of WWU began a campaign a while back to get funding for a stadium on campus. Right now the soccer teams commute to matches at Whatcom Community College. The “Stand Up” campaign introduced initial plans for a venue, but positive movement seemed slow after the initial launch.

Now the university has gained some traction. About $1,000,000 worth of it. See below.

A $1 million gift from Western Washington University alumnus Scott Harrington and his family has helped begin the process of building a modern new multipurpose athletic field at WWU. This project will create a fully lighted and fenced artificial turf play field that is sized for regulation soccer and will serve as the new home of Western’s NCAA Division II men’s and women’s soccer teams. It also will be an important resource for Western recreation programs and intramurals.

“This field project is significant of course for Western, we’ve had a shortage of on-campus field space for some time, and our soccer teams have been playing off-campus for years,” said Lynda Goodrich, director of WWU Athletics. “It will also be a resource for the community. There are currently only two other all-weather turf fields in Bellingham – Orca Field and Civic Stadium – that are regulation-size for soccer. We’re thrilled that we’ll be able to host other major sporting events at this first-class facility.”

The two Fairhaven fields on south campus near the tennis courts and softball field will be graded to one level, large, dividable turf field. The project will include a scoreboard, team benches and scorer’s tables, storage, spectator seating, restrooms and team facilities/locker rooms. In addition, the field will include an extension to enable concurrent and multi-recreational uses such as lacrosse and rugby. The extent of the seating and team facilities will depend on cost estimates as the design process proceeds, as well as the success of additional fundraising efforts.

“Western has played a significant role in my family’s lives over the years,” said Harrington, who graduated in 1998 from Western’s accounting program and played on the men’s NCAA Division II soccer team. “I’m thrilled that we are helping Western build a great new home for its soccer teams. Giving back in this way is truly an honor.”

On April 13, the WWU Board of Trustees unanimously approved a motion by Trustee Ralph Munro to name the field in honor of Scott’s father, the late Robert Harrington, in recognition of the family’s gift. The field will be formally known as Robert S. Harrington Field.


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