Averett debuts new $5.2 million stadium, saying ‘this changes Danville’

Averett University unveiled the new Frank R. Campbell Stadium and presented the space as a venue for the entire Dan River Region during a news conference and tour Wednesday.

“This changes Danville,” said Averett Athletic Director Meg Stevens. “This changes Southside Virginia. If you haven’t been here yet, come see us now.”

The second and final phase of the $5.2 million project is almost complete, with construction crews finishing up concrete and pavement outside during the tour. Inside, Stevens, Averett President Tiffany Franks and other coaches, student athletes and community members talked about the stadium’s impact on the community.

“We will not only be able to bring a brand new experience to our fans, but most importantly, our student athletes,” Stevens said. “To be able to participate in front of a stadium like this is incredible.”

Averett Vice President for Institutional Advancement Buddy Rawley spoke next, and said the venue is already being used to host a variety of events, from pee-wee football games to fundraising dinners in the president’s suite above the stands.

“It’s a great facility,” Rawley said. “It’s going to be more than five home football games.”

Rawley took time to thanks the five largest single donors to the stadium: The E. Stuart James Grant Charitable Trust, the J.T.-Minnie Maude Charitable Trust, the Phillip N. Daly and Frances K. Daly Charitable Lead Unitrust, Richard and Jean Wright and Beverley and Doug Dalton. Each of the donors’ names is written on a stone inscription by the front gates.

Rawley also said the stadium gives Averett an edge in the Dan River Region.

“It gives us a competitive advantage, not just on the field but in the classroom,” he said. “There are many students and parents who today look at facilities for where their child is going to be for the next four years.”

After holding several Averett games at the new facility, Rawley said the school plans to reach out to local high schools about hosting one or two major games a season.

“We’ll reach out to the county and city high schools and see if maybe a signature game for them could be here,” Rawley said.

Rawley said football schedules were easy enough to work around so that it would be possible to have a high school and a college game during the same weekend.

Rawley said Averett next plans to look into resident life construction for its next capital project.

Stevens said Averett was proud to continue being Danville’s hometown university. “Now we just need to pack the stands,” she said.

Trevor Metcalfe reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact him at tmetcalfe@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7983.