Loyola Athletics Celebrates `Topping Off' Of Ridley Intercollegiate Athletic Complex

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April 28, 2009

BALTIMORE - The vision and planning of many came one step closer to reality on a sunny Maryland morning at a `Topping Off Ceremony' when the final steel beam of the Rev. Harold Ridley, S.J., Intercollegiate Athletic Complex was put in place on April 28.

Several members of the Loyola Department of Athletics, members of the College's administration, employees of Whiting-Turner Contracting Company and Sasaki Associates and the men of the Iron Workers Local #16 who put the building together attended the event.

The RIAC will have seating for over 6,000 fans.

After Loyola Associate Vice President for Facilities and Campus Services Helen Schneider and Director of Athletics Joe Boylan addressed the group, attendees took turns signing the final beam that would be lifted into place.

"This is an exciting day in the transformation of Loyola," Boylan said to the group. "As we move toward University status in the fall, this complex represents the past, present and future of Loyola and its commitment to its student-athletes."

The RIAC will house Loyola's men's and women's lacrosse and men's and women's soccer programs and provide a 6,000-plus seat stadium that will rival any collegiate lacrosse or soccer venue.

When the signing and photo opportunities were completed, a crane hoisted the final beam toward the bright April sun.

A pair of Iron Workers led the steel to its final place, high atop the foundation. After securing the beam, the workers posed for a few more photos on the beam next to an American flag and a small tree, significant of Loyola's Evergreen Campus.

Loyola's Associate Director of Athletics Teddi Burns, Vice President for Administration Terrence Sawyer, Director of Athletics Joe Boylan and Associate Vice President for Facilities and Campus Services Helen Schneider pose in front of the signed beam.

"This project started as an idea back in the mid-1990s as a vision of our former president Father Ridley, and we are so pleased that it is coming closer to completion for 2010," Boylan said. "Many people have spent countless hours to making this the best soccer and lacrosse facilities in the nation. Loyola has shown a terrific ongoing commitment to athletics, and this is just one example of the care the school has for student-athletes and their success."

Teams will begin playing in the RIAC as early as Spring 2010.

"We are excited to be a part of this fabulous facility that is going to be one of the best soccer venues in the nation," Head Women's Soccer Coach Katherine Vettori said. "The entire environment here is one that encourages student-athletes to be the best they can be, and this facility will be a showplace for their hard work."