By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Supporters of the future stadium for Assumption High School and St. Ambrose University broke ground May 19, tossing mud instead of dirt on the soggy field. Their efforts commenced Phase II of the St. Vincent Center Athletic Complex. The ceremony began near the north end of the Assumption High School parking lot.
Assumption High School President Andy Craig said contractors hope to begin work in July. “This is really exciting. We are finally getting to this point that has been in the works since 2009.” Phase II, which is estimated to cost $9 million, includes construction of a regulation size football/soccer field surrounded by a 400-meter all-weather-surface track. A 500-seat section of bleachers and a press box building with restrooms and a concession stand also will be built. Lights and competition areas for field events and jumps will be constructed near the track. Additional parking and a footbridge to connect the new field to current facilities to the east will be constructed as well.
When completed, the new fields will host varsity and lower-level soccer games for both schools and junior varsity and freshmen football games for Assumption. The Ambrose junior varsity football team also will compete on the new field. Assumption High Schools owns the complex and has a lease agreement with St. Ambrose.
St. Ambrose University President Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, said she knew of the need for a new sports complex when she arrived at the university 12 years ago. The Phase I portion of the complex, already in use, includes two practice fields for lacrosse, soccer and football; a softball diamond, seating and a concession stand with restrooms and press box. The schools have balanced 15 teams using the Phase I fields and benefitted 690 students who play sports on the fields, she said.
The Bush family has made a seven-figure donation to the project in honor of the late Jack and Patricia Bush. Two of their children, Barbara (Bush) Johnson and Joe Bush, represented the family during the groundbreaking. Many other Bush family members in attendance sat in a tent set up to keep attendees out of the wind and potential rain.
“This has been quite the journey,” Barbara Johnson said during the ceremony. She serves on the St. Ambrose Board of Trustees, as did her father. She thought it was appropriate for the family to make the donation in honor of their parents because of their support of family, faith and the community. Jack and Patricia were “devoted to Catholic education.”
Joe Bush said he and his siblings learned life lessons at Assumption and in college about loyalty to team, family and faith because of the values their parents instilled in them.
Following the ceremony, members of the Bush family, Assumption and St. Ambrose communities and others took part in the groundbreaking ceremony on the site of the new field. Instead of tossing dry dirt into the air, ground breakers tossed mud which drew laughter from many at the event.
Pending weather conditions, Phase II is expected to be completed by August 2020. Phase III will include a grandstand and an additional building at the new football/soccer complex.