FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Indiana Tech plans to buy the Donald Ross Golf Course in southern Fort Wayne to use as the home for its new athletic facilities, which will include a new softball stadium and track and field complex.
The university announced early Wednesday it had entered into an option-to-purchase agreement with Sycamore, Inc. for the 6,821-yard, 18-hole golf course, located at 7120 S. Calhoun St. near Tillman Park, more than 5 miles south of the university's campus. Details of the deal were not disclosed.
What was disclosed, though, was Indiana Tech's plans to perform "due diligence on the property to assess its full potential for use as the home of new Indiana Tech athletic facilities," it wrote in a news release.
Indiana Tech said a plan for the site had not yet been developed, but the university was assessing the use of the current back nine of the golf course, north of Tillman Road and east of Calhoun Street, as the site of a softball stadium and track and field complex. The 55 acres of land comprising that portion of the course would also allow enough space for additional athletic facilities in the future, the university said.
Under the early plan, the golf course's front nine, west of Calhoun Street, would remain unchanged. Indiana Tech would operate it as a 9-hole course, open to the public. The university's men's and women's golf teams would also be able to utilize the course as a practice facility, while its management and operation could be overseen by Indiana Tech students as an experiential learning opportunity, the university said.
"We're excited about the possibilities created by repurposing the Donald Ross Golf Course, and look forward to completing our site assessment," said Indiana Tech president Dr. Karl Einolf. "It seems like both a great fit for the needs of our student-athletes, and a positive use of the property for the entire community."
The plan comes more than six months after Indiana Tech announced plans to build its athletic facilities inside city of Fort Wayne-owned Memorial Park as part of a joint venture between the city and the university. That plan was pulled in May, though, after community groups like Friends of the Parks of Allen County and ARCH of Fort Wayne argued the project would disrupt the historic monuments and tree grove that honor local soldiers who died in World War I as well as past, current and future veterans of Allen County.
The university has been searching for an alternative solution since. It believes it found it in the Donald Ross Golf Course.
Indiana Tech expects to complete the purchase of the property in the first quarter of 2018, after it comes its "due diligence and site assessment." The university hopes to begin construction on new facilities, namely the softball stadium, in the summer 2018. Practices and games could begin as early as spring 2019, Indiana Tech said.