Western announces pledge, plans for football stadium

Western announces pledge, plans for football stadium
Jason Ferris (33) runs onto the field with teammates, from left, Kyrin Allen, Riley Martello, Cody Connolly, Connor Schulte and Kyle Schulte before Montana Western’s Oct. 6 game against Montana Tech in Dillon. (Butte Sports file photo)

DILLON — Montana Western will finally be getting its own football stadium.

The school announced today that Western received a pledge donation of 14 acres of land adjacent to the Western campus. The pledge of land comes from John and Phyllis Erb.

The Erb family has made donations that have previously been the catalysts for numerous community enhancement projects in the Dillon area, including the Jaycee Park Renovation.

The area extends from behind the Bulldog Athletics and Recreation Complex (BARC) to Highway 91, including the practice fields currently used by the Montana Western football team and the Montana Youth Challenge Academy.

“We are grateful to the Erb family for their vision, leadership, and continual support of the University of Montana Western. They have provided scholarships to numerous students over the years and have been instrumental in ensuring the health and welfare of our community,” Western Chancellor Beth Weatherby said.

For many years, a group of alumni and friends of Bulldog Athletics have been exploring ways to provide much needed upgrades to Vigilante Field or building a new stadium closer to the campus.

“I am so grateful to the Erb family for their generosity,” Western Director of Athletics Bill Wilson said. “Over the last year, I was trying to determine the best course of action for an upgraded or new football stadium, and the dream scenario in my mind was to be able to construct a stadium right behind the BARC. This generous pledge to donate is the biggest step in making that dream a reality.”

The donation stipulates that UMW will raise $2 million in the next two years, approximately one-third of the estimated cost of building the stadium. State funding will not be used for this project. The new facility will be available to community teams, just as Vigilante Field has been.

“Community teams will have access to the facility, and it will also be a more competitive venue for submitting bids for other events that could be hosted here in Dillon. This will provide further opportunities to bring additional revenue to our local community,” said Montana Western Foundation Director Roxanne Engellant.

Still in the early planning phase, a formal committee will be formed to provide campus and community members the opportunity to provide input as the project moves forward. Project updates will continue to be shared as they become available.

For more information, contact Wilson by email: william.wilson@umwestern.edu, or call (406) 683-7391.

If you would like to find out more about the fundraising efforts for the project, contact Engellant by email: roxanne.engellant@umwestern.edu, or call 406-683-7305.

Donations are also accepted online by visiting www.umwfoundation.org.

— Montana Western

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