Originally Published: February 8, 2013 12:31 a.m.
PRESCOTT - A Yavapai College effort that started with displaying a sign on Thursday hopes to end with an on-campus soccer field down the road.
The athletics department announced Thursday the site for a future "Outdoor Events Center" on the north end of campus. A group featuring YC President Dr. Penelope Wills, Athletic Director Brad Clifford, Dean of Health and Sciences Scott Farnsworth, Head Soccer Coach Mike Pantalione and Associate Soccer Coach Hugh Bell erected a sign promoting the future site of the events center.
"We've had numerous calls for football camps and band camps and those types of things, and we just haven't been able to house them or put them anywhere," Clifford said Thursday. "And to top it off, it'd be a great place to house a soccer field."
The seven-time national championship program, which started in 1989, has always played its home games off campus. The team has called historic Ken Lindley Field on Gurley Street, maintained by Prescott Parks and Recreation, home since its first season, and has gone 210-9-1 on its venerable surface since 1989. The program has gone a perfect 47-0-0 on its secondary home field, Mountain Valley Park Amphitheater in Prescott Valley.
While other sports in Yavapai's history - from baseball and softball to basketball and volleyball - have played home games at on-campus facilities, Clifford, who has served in the athletics department for almost 20 years, acknowledged Thursday that securing an on-campus home for the soccer team has been "an ongoing effort" for many years.
Pantalione wasn't immediately available for comment.
While much of the work for the proposed Outdoor Events Center remains ahead, identifying a location for the site, before the campus undergoes construction projects this summer, including the razing of one residence hall, was Thursday's first step.
"There's really nothing on paper. It's all in our minds," Clifford said. "With Mike and Hugh we've talked about a lot of locales here on campus. We've even talked with the (Prescott-Yavapai Indian) Tribe a little bit and cooperated with them."
The obvious hurdle facing the effort is funding.
Clifford said they "haven't talked money yet," but put a preliminary estimate of $1 million on the project. Fundraising and donations, he added, hope to pay the tab.
"It's our job now to find out how to fund it," he said.
Anyone interested in more information on the project and its costs can call Clifford at 776-2230.