Renovation Cost: $400,000
Central Michigan University's softball team moved to its current location in 1973, when new softball fields were built as part of the Rose Center athletic complex. A collection of softball and soccer fields were installed on the south end of the Rose complex and served as the home of varsity softball during the 1970s and 1980s.
By the mid-1990s, the continued growth of the softball program at Central made improving the facilities a priority for the athletic department. As a result, the Board of Trustees approved $250,000 for improvements to the softball fields in 1995. Changes to the facility included the renovation of the main existing field into a more sophisticated softball complex, the addition of a press box, installation of restrooms, and the construction of a concessions building. The new Rose Softball Complex was dedicated in April 1998.
In 2006, the University announced plans for a renovation of the Rose Softball Complex. A total of $400,000 was used to replace older features of the ballpark, install new netting on the cages and bullpens, restore windows in the press box, and add a supplementary batting cage. Two ramps were also installed in the seating section to accommodate Americans with Disabilities Act standards. Seating capacity was also increased with the addition of new chairback seating, which increased the total seating capacity to 286.
The renovated stadium opened in April 2008 as Margo Jonker Stadium. Margo Jonker, softball coach at CMU, pulled off the curtain unveiling the new name and threw out the first pitch to inaugurate the new stadium. President Michael Rao and several other dignitaries were also in attendance. The decision to name the stadium after Jonker represented a departure for the University in multiple ways. Jonker was still alive, and indeed still coaching, at the time of the dedication. Further, officials decided to include both the first and last name as part of the stadium's official name, breaking with the naming tradition for most buildings on campus.
Margo Jonker is the winningest softball coach in CMU history. She started at Central in 1980 after a short tenure at Grand Valley State College. Over her career, she has posted over 1,100 wins with CMU, ranking her eighth among active Division I coaches. She is a member of four Halls of Fame and was the 1987 National Coach of the Year. She has also been named MAC coach of the year nine times. Under her leadership, the Chippewas made 13 trips to the NCAA tournament and have captured 11 MAC titles. She continues to serve as the softball coach today.