Friends University has partnered with the City of Wichita to lease the baseball field and stadium at West Side Athletic Field, 571 N. McLean Blvd. The leased facility will serve as the new home field for Falcon Baseball.
“We are excited about the partnership with the City of Wichita regarding West Side Athletic Field,” said Joe Zimmerman, athletic director. “The ability to have a home field so close to our campus will be of great benefit to our student athletes, fans and campus community. Working with Doug Kupper and his staff at the Parks & Recreation department continues to be a rewarding experience in community relations for Friends University.”
Falcon Baseball will play its first game at its new location Feb. 13 at 1 p.m. against Briar Cliff University from Sioux City, Iowa. Friends University is planning to host a ceremonial first pitch at one of its early games to celebrate the new multi-year leasing agreement.
Doug Kupper, director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Wichita, said the City has leased the facility to Friends University for a nominal amount, but the agreement will save the City $25,000 per year in maintenance costs.
“This is a great partnership that will make the community stronger,” Kupper said. “Friends University has a facility for their baseball program closer to their campus, and we know they take good care of maintaining and improving their facilities.”
Zimmerman said Friends University is reviewing ideas and options to enhance the facility and build upon the work already done by the City of Wichita. He also said signage at the field will be re-done to indicate the facility will be used by Falcon Athletics.
The Friends University Athletic Department has been in conversation with the City for several months to discuss how the two organizations could partner together, and the Wichita City Council unanimously approved the agreement at its Dec. 1 meeting.
The West Side Athletic Field is located less than two miles from Friends University on property the City of Wichita acquired in 1940. Falcon Baseball previously competed at Westurban Complex, 6900 W. 13th St. North, nearly six miles from the campus of Friends University.