University of Wisconsin-Superior unveils new $5 million stadium project
Work is expected to begin in the spring on the Superior Choice Credit Union Stadium.
SUPERIOR — The University of Wisconsin-Superior on Wednesday announced the construction of a roughly $5 million new stadium on the campus.
The Superior Choice Credit Union Stadium is scheduled to open by September 2023 and will serve as the home of the Yellowjackets men’s and women’s soccer teams and the men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams.
“It certainly elevates our profile from both an athletic standpoint and a university standpoint,” said UWS Director of Athletics Nick Bursik. “This project honestly marks the biggest investment we’ve made in our outdoor facilities in several decades.”
The artificial turf stadium will be situated next to the Marcovich Wellness Center in the area behind the Curran-McNeill and Ostrander residence halls. It will span an area that currently houses a grassy field, parking lot and a section of the shuttered Ole Haugsrud field. As part of the project, the green space where McCaskill Hall once stood will become a parking area for residents.
The new stadium will be lined for both soccer and lacrosse and ringed by a full collegiate nine-lane track with grandstand seating and lights similar in size to the lighting at Superior High School’s sports complex.
“I would anticipate this will become one of the most heavily used facilities on our campus," for athletic practices and games, human performance classes, campus recreation and by the public, Bursik said.
For the UWS soccer teams, it represents a homecoming. The college’s women’s soccer team, established in 1993, and men’s soccer team, which began as a club team in 1997 and joined the official Yellowjacket lineup in 1998, are currently vagabonds.
“Our programs, soccer in particular, has probably played at nine, 10 facilities in the Twin Ports, both in Wisconsin and Minnesota, as we’ve tried to navigate a place for them to practice and compete,” Bursik said.
The new stadium is a chance, he said, to “finally bring the students back to campus, create that vibrancy. We really hope it redefines some of the student experience here.”
The project is funded by state and UW-System support, according to the athletic director.
“None of the project is being funded through fees to students … that was really vital for us, not to put any expenses on the students,” Bursik said.
Through a historic gift to Yellowjacket Athletics, Superior Choice Credit Union will hold the naming rights to the facility as well as the standing area and lounge area (previously the Yellowjacket Room) at Wessman Arena.
"Funding this new athletic facility and stadium for UW-Superior speaks directly to who we are as a credit union and our mission to positively impact our members and our communities. We opened our doors in Superior, Wis. in 1932 and are deeply rooted in the Superior community,” Tim Foster, CEO and president of Superior Choice Credit Union, said in a news release. "This partnership with UWS was a natural fit and we look forward seeing this stadium full of athletes, students, our employees and members, and local community."
Maintenance and upkeep, from turf replacements and track resurfacing to lighting upgrades are being planned by the college, Bursik said.
“Keeping the vitality of the field and the sustainability, that’s a priority for us,” Bursik said. “This isn’t about a one-time $5 million investment, this is going to be continued to make sure it stays a premium facility.”
Ole Haugsrud is not a viable option for athletic teams. The aging football field has significant challenges.
“There was a fire in the grandstand this spring and the stands are slated to be demolished next summer, so it can’t be used,” Bursik said.
Building the stadium next to the Wellness Center puts resources such as locker rooms, training facilities and sports medicine that much closer. It also situates the action next to the residence halls, where it can catch student interest.
Superior Choice Credit Union Stadium may be just the beginning.
“We really hope this is a catalyst for other projects. In many eyes, this is phase one for us. And then phase two is eventually to have a baseball/softball complex,” Bursik said. “With the construction of this, it does free up land at Wessman Arena for other developments.”
Eleven acres of UWS land that borders Belknap Street, including much of Ole Haugsrud field, are slated for public-private partnership efforts that will redefine that corridor of the campus. That could take the form of anything from mixed use to student housing to a turf fieldhouse or a hotel.
“We have currently published a bid to solicit developer interest,” Bursik said.
UWS does not currently have a lacrosse team, but the new stadium presents an opportunity.
“We’re always looking at future sports to offer and we certainly recognize that our community does not have a lot of lacrosse fields,” Bursik said. “We hope it’s an asset for the entire community.”
The college expects to break ground on the new stadium in spring 2023 and have it ready for athletes by mid-August.
“We really don’t anticipate that the construction will hinder anything for students this academic year,” Bursik said.