OLATHE, Kan. — MidAmerica Nazarene University is planning to honor an alumnus and community leader when it opens its new athletic complex.

MNU announced it plans to name the new building the Copeland Athletic Complex, after former Olathe mayor Mike Copeland.

Copeland died in August 2020, after serving six terms, or 19 years, as Olathe’s mayor. He also served on numerous other committees and boards.

He graduated from MNU in 1984, and the university’s president credited Copeland for his dedication to MNU and it’s mission.

“Mike was a football player and served as student body president at MidAmerica,” Dr. David Spittal, university president, said. “He went on to a successful business career and became Olathe’s longest-serving mayor. His influence on MNU and Olathe is evident in virtually every aspect of our community. What a fitting way to honor his legacy at the university he loved.”

The new athletic complex will include a new football stadium, track, practice field, expanded locker rooms, and meeting space. The university says the new project is long overdue.

The original MNU stadium no longer met competition requirements, so the university’s football team plays home games at one of Olathe’s District Athletic Complexes. The track doesn’t measure up either, so track and field meets are also held off campus.

The new athletic complex is expected to cost $12 million to build. The university recently received a $2 million challenge grant, but still needs to raise nearly $5 million by July 2023 to receive the funding.

The university plans to break ground on the Copeland Athletic Complex in fall 2023.

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