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Alumni Field

AlumniField1930.jpgOpened: 1930
Closed: 1997
Cost: $40,000

Alumni Field and the adjacent University Baseball Stadium (also known as Alumni Stadium) were located on a 22 acre plot of land in the heart of Central Michigan University's campus. Major improvements to the field were made in 1930, when a new field house was constructed and a new Alumni Field was established. Alumni Field contained a track and field facility, a gridiron, a grandstand capable of seating 2,500 spectators, a baseball diamond, and practice fields. The complex was well fenced, properly drained, and of sufficient size for future plans for expansion. Its location in the center of campus made it a convenient and popular place for students to attend athletic events or to stop by on their way to and from classes.

Alumni Field underwent significant renovations during its forty-plus year run as the home of CMU athletics. In 1938, lights were installed on the football field, allowing for night games. In 1941, with the help of the Public Works Administration, tennis courts were added to the athletic field. The baseball scoreboard was replaced in 1970 and again in 1990. In 1981, Central Michigan University paid $350,000 to substantially renovate Alumni Field, installing bleacher-type seating, a ticket booth, concession stand, and restroom and media facilities.

aerial photo alumni field 3.jpg In 1986, the track and field facility that was commonly known as Alumni Field (although the name also applied to the general athletic grounds of which the track was only a part) was officially renamed the Lyle Bennett Track, in honor of a former CMU track coach. A year later, the baseball stadium (commonly known as Alumni Stadium or just the baseball stadium) was rededicated as Theunissen Stadium in honor of Bill Theunissen, a former CMU baseball coach, athletic director, and Dean of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation.

Although it had been home to many athletic events since 1930 and the home of CMU baseball since 1949, Alumni Field no longer exists in physical form. On November 4, 1972, the football team played its first game at the new Perry Shorts Stadium. By the 1990s, the University made an effort to concentrate all of the athletic facilities on the south end of campus. Following the construction of the new Theunissen Stadium, the Indoor Athletic Center, and new track and field facilities, University officials announced plans for a new instructional facility on the site of the old Alumni Field. The Health Professions Building and the College of Medicine are now situated where Alumni Field athletic complex once existed and the grassy area between these facilities and Finch Field house is the former site of the football field and Bennett Track.