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October 5, 2012

Groundbreaking for new football stadium

Groundbreaking for the Knowlton Outdoor Athletic Complex took place on Thursday, October 4 with the current Augustana football team looking on in the background.

Despite overcast skies and the threat of rain, the mood was certainly sunny on Thursday, October 4 as ground was broken for Augustana's new Austin E. Knowlton Outdoor Athletic Complex. With the Board of Trustees in attendance, along with various dignitaries from the Quad Cities, the new football stadium project officially got under way.

After a year in the planning stage, Augustana president Steve Bahls spoke on Thursday and thanked the leadership and vision of Charles D. Lindberg and the Knowlton Trust for making this dream a reality. With the entire 2012 Augustana football team in the background, shovels were turned on the site.

The ceremony, which was held in conjunction with a meeting of the Augustana Board of Trustees, took  place in the northwest corner of the football field. It will be on the site of the new Charles D. Lindberg Stadium and the Ken Anderson Academic All-America Club, at the scoreboard end of the field.

The Austin E. Knowlton Outdoor Athletic Complex will also include the Charles D. Lindberg Stadium, the Ken Anderson Academic All-America Club and the Players' Plaza and Viking Patio and Overlook.

"The vision and generosity of the Knowlton Foundation means that Augustana will have one of the finest football stadiums in all of NCAA Division III," said President of the College Steven C. Bahls. "A quality stadium is particularly fitting for Augustana football, whose team members are both quality football players and true scholar-athletes."

Construction is set to begin on the facility in November of this year and the complex is scheduled to open in time for Augustana's season opener on Sept. 7, 2013 against Mount St. Joseph College.

The Austin E. Knowlton Outdoor Athletic Complex is named in honor of the late Ohio businessman and philanthropist Austin E. Knowlton, who founded the Knowlton Foundation and funded it throughout his lifetime and through a provision in his will. This is not the first time that Augustana has benefitted from the generosity of the Mr. Knowlton. Previous gifts from him include Knowlton's Ohio and Colorado homes, which were sold to fund the Austin E. Knowlton Memorial Scholarship and the Austin E. Knowlton Honors Program, both established in 2004. Those previous gifts came from Mr. Knowlton personally while this one will come from the Knowlton Foundation.

The centerpiece for the project will be Lindberg Stadium, which will be located on the north side of the Knowlton Complex (where the visitor's stands are currently). Lindberg Stadium will have a three-story grandstand that will include team facilities with a spacious locker room, 110 lockers, training and taping facilities and team meeting rooms on the ground level. There will be seating for 1,800 and will include chair-back seats along the 50-yard line and a designated student section. The second level, which overlooks the football playing field, includes offices for the football coaching staff, a conference room and display and reception areas. The third level will have a working press box and suites for entertainment and recruiting.

The architectural firm of Hastings and Chivetta from St. Louis is handling the design for the stadium project while Estes Construction, based in Davenport, will be the general contractor. Estes handled the renovation for Carlsson Evald Hall five years ago and is currently doing the work on Old Main.

A unique feature of the Knowlton Complex will be the Anderson Academic All-America Club. This will be a lively indoor gathering location with televisions, room to socialize during Viking contests, innovative concessions, and picture-window views of the game-day action. This building will feature Viking football memorabilia and a display featuring Academic All-Americans, of which Augustana has had 139 throughout the years and ranks sixth in the nation in number produced, regardless of division. The Anderson Club will be open throughout the year for social gatherings and meetings of up to 80 people.