(Peru, Neb.) – There were a lot of roars from many different locations on the Peru State College campus on April 29.

The roars were part of a day-long celebration which brought together Bobcat alumni, family, and friends for three separate groundbreakings for Project ROAR – the largest construction project – both in terms of cost and square footage – in Peru State’s 155+ year history.

The capital campaign is based on the idea that supporting students’ physical and mental health and well-being is vitally important. Peru State College knows that getting students moving is essential for their growth, their self-esteem, their ability to form healthy relationships, and their ability to learn. In addition, as part of the campaign, overtaxed athletic and recreational facilities will be greatly enhanced.

Project ROAR contributors helped kick off the baseball and softball games by throwing the first pitches. Carlos Harrison, a 1951 graduate from Shenandoah, Iowa, threw out the first pitch at the Bobcat baseball game while Dobey Haws, wife of 1969 graduate Butch Haws of Lincoln, hurled the first pitch prior to the softball games.

Between the softball and baseball games, those in attendance gathered for groundbreakings at locations near future building sites. Peru State President Michael Evans provided comments at each of the groundbreakings. Softball player Ellie Ohlde (Fairbury), head softball coach Toni Closner, baseball player Brenton Pitt (Fremont), and baseball coach Wayne Albury each provided comments about how the new facilities will impact their programs in the future.

As part of her comments, Ohlde stated, “I am thrilled to be here today as we break ground for the Project ROAR facilities. As a student-athlete, I know first-hand the impact that modern, state-of-the-art facilities can have on our performance and overall experience.”

An emotional Closner was happy to see several her former teammates and other Peru State softball alumni in attendance. She noted that this was a long-time coming and she knew that the late Coach Mathews would be very happy with the anticipated construction.

At the softball groundbreaking, President Evans started his comments with the following, “It seems like such a small thing. Running water. Two words. But what a difference those will mean.” Neither the softball or baseball teams have running water at their facilities and do not have locker rooms.

Pitt and Albury echoed similar comments during the baseball groundbreaking as did their softball counterparts.

Peru State College Foundation Chair Jeff Greenwald thanked those in attendance, as well as those who have already contributed to Project ROAR. Greenwald noted that we have nearly reached the first fundraising goals and that everyone will be working toward the goal of raising more than $4 million to supplement the previously secured funds.

A final groundbreaking took place prior to the spring football game at the site of the multipurpose dome which will more than double indoor recreational and athletic space on campus. The air-supported, artificially-turfed dome will be located to the northeast of the historic Oak Bowl.

In addition to President Evans, Bobcat football player Will Mueller (Springdale, Ark.) and head football coach Phil Ockinga addressed the crowd.

At each location, contributors, alumni, and others joined in for a groundbreaking and photos.

Prior to the start of the spring football game, Project ROAR co-chairs, Jerry (’64) and Christina (’88) Joy of Stella and Paul (’67) and Arlene (’67) Fell of Lincoln threw a couple of passes and were recognized in front of the Bobcat faithful.

President Evans stated that it was hoped that construction will begin yet this month with the anticipated opening of the first two facilities to be in August 2024.

Gifts to Project ROAR can be made online at https://bit.ly/PSCProjectROAR or by check made out and mailed to: Peru State College Foundation, Project ROAR, PO Box 10, Peru, NE 68421-0010. Questions can be directed to Ted Harshbarger at the Foundation, 402-872-2304 or tharshbarger@peru.edu.