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Chapman Accepts Donation for Sports Complex

University receives a $6-million gift for its $20.5-million athletic center, which will include a stadium and an Olympic-sized pool.

October 12, 2005|David Haldane | Times Staff Writer

A gift from a foundation headed by a former Chapman University athlete has put the college within sprinting distance of the amount needed to complete a $20.5-million athletic complex, officials said Tuesday.

"We believe there are four pillars of academic achievement: scholastic, social, spiritual and physical," university spokeswoman Mary Platt said of the complex already under construction near the north end of the campus in Orange. "This is the beginning of a new era for Chapman athletics. It really is going to transform everything about our athletics program."

With the $6-million gift from the A. Gary Anderson Family Foundation, Platt said, the university has raised about $15 million of the total needed to complete the complex, which will include a separately funded 900-space underground parking structure topped by an athletic field with a 2,000-seat stadium and Olympic-sized pool.

Also planned, she said, is a classroom pavilion housing coaching offices and possibly locker rooms. Work has begun on the parking structure.

University officials also announced that the facility would be called the Erin J. Lastinger Athletics Complex in honor of a former Chapman soccer player who's chairman and chief executive of the A. Gary Anderson Family Foundation.

Anderson, who died in 1992, was a 24-year veteran of the mortgage banking and real estate industries. He was a longtime resident of Riverside and Orange counties.

Construction of the parking structure and athletic field are expected to be completed next fall, Platt said, with work on the pool and stadium to follow.

Though Chapman has nearly 500 athletes involved in 20 sports, Platt said, the university has never had its own pool or stadium, forcing athletes to practice off campus.

"Eighty-seven percent of our student athletes graduate," Platt said, "which is higher than the average for the student body as a whole. What that proves is that athletics actually contributes to a student's education, it doesn't detract, and the physical part of education is all wrapped up in this athletic complex."

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