LPS celebrates anniversary of Union Bank Stadium
The Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools hosted a birthday bash for the one-year anniversary of Union Bank Stadium. High school students from across the school district have used the venue for marching band, flag corps, football, soccer, cheerleading and dance team activities over the past 12 months.
Foundation for LPS President Wendy Van felt Union Bank Stadium’s story was full of positive messages. The Foundation and Union Bank & Trust (UBT) began a community partnership in June 2022. UBT leaders pledged a gift of $1.5 million to jumpstart the Fielding Dreams fundraising campaign for athletic complexes.
“Union Bank Stadium stands as a testament to the power of community coming together and as a symbol of our commitment to providing exceptional opportunities for our students,” Van said. “This anniversary serves as a reminder of the spirit that pushes us to reach greater heights in education and community engagement.”
LPS Superintendent Paul Gausman echoed Van’s sentiments.
“I am amazed and impressed with how the community of Lincoln comes together to support our students,” Gausman said. “When we ask, the community answers time and again. Lincoln truly understands how these extracurricular activities enrich the learning experiences of our students, connecting them to school and pushing them to achieve.”
UBT Executive Vice President Jason Muhleisen said the company was happy to provide financial support for the project. He said it was fulfilling to know the stadium was helping students in an ocean-sized number of ways.
“It’s exciting to see how this beautiful stadium has brought so many students, parents and community members together to support school activities,” Muhleisen said. “We can’t wait to see what’s ahead for this school year!”
Northwest’s school mascot, Freddie the Falcon, played a prominent role in the ceremony. Freddie carried a large inflatable birthday cake to the edge of Union Bank Stadium’s turfed field. LPS and UBT officials smiled as the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” for the stadium.
Celebration activities took place before Northwest’s season-opening football game against Lincoln Pius X. The Falcons were a critical part of the celebration with their marching band, pep band, cheerleading squad and dance team participating in the night.
Construction of Union Bank Stadium began after Lincoln voters approved a $290 million bond referendum in 2020.
LPS allocated $15.4 million for upgrading practice fields at the six existing high schools and constructing activities complexes at Lincoln Northwest and Lincoln Standing Bear. Students from all eight LPS high schools will be able to use the new facilities.
Foundation for Lincoln Public Schools representatives launched the “Fielding Dreams” fundraising campaign in August 2022. They began with a goal of raising $17.6 million to finish activities-based projects at the two new high schools.
Van said Union Bank Stadium is a bright example of how public-private partnerships can benefit everyone in Lincoln. She said contributions such as the UBT donation would help LPS students sail on successful seas for many years to come.
“UBT’s general gift demonstrates a profound commitment to the growth and development of the next generation,” Van said. “Beyond the immediate benefits of the physical stadium, these contributions establish a legacy of positive change, fostering a thriving community. Supporting K-12 education isn’t just a philanthropic gesture; it’s a strategic investment in Lincoln’s future workforce, innovation and prosperity.
“We’re thrilled to have aided in the partnership between UBT and LPS to create opportunities for Lincoln’s youth to have more access to high-quality playing fields.”
Published: August 24, 2023, Updated: August 24, 2023