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A 90-yard practice turf, a 300-meter track, 1,754,000 pounds of steel and 66,000 linear feet of conduit are all things you can find in the newly opened Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse.

The opening ceremony kicked off shortly after 4 p.m. Oct. 12 with a crowd full of community and campus members. Before the speakers took the stand the recognition of the 76 "Founding 50" members was announced.

These are members who donated $50,000 or more to the project. The members included individual families, foundations and businesses. Following recognition, Northwest President John Jasinski took the podium for his speech. Jasinski emphasized the impressiveness of the fieldhouse throughout his speech.

“Welcome to Hughes Fieldhouse, the largest free-standing structure north of Kansas City,” Jasinski said during his dedication speech. “The largest public-private partnership in our university and region’s history.”

The size and overall aesthetic of the fieldhouse was not lost on those in attendance. Wrapping up the speakers was Carl Hughes, whose family the building is named after. Hughes related the size to the audience through the best way he knew how.

“This thing (fieldhouse) will hold 769,600 square bales of hay,” Carl Hughes said during his dedication speech. “You can thank me later for providing that useless fact to be entered into your mind.”

Aside from the sheer size and look of the fieldhouse, the use that the community and athletics would get out it were stressed. The fieldhouse will not only be open to anyone, but will help athletic teams prepare for competitions and other activities.

Those interested in visiting the Hughes Fieldhouse during Homecoming Weekend can do so Saturday afternoon between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

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