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The formal dedication of the Grizzly Park athletics complex on Oct. 15, 2011 made the year’s Homecoming weekend one for the Franklin College history books.

In just 24 months, the college developed the park on 78 acres east of the main campus, upgrading and adding amenities designed to provide outstanding venues for Grizzly intercollegiate athletic programs for NCAA Division III competition and to encourage health and wellness in the campus community and Johnson County. A sound mind in a sound body is the underlying liberal arts philosophy with which Franklin College always has operated; Grizzly Park elevates the standard.

The $5.8 million complex, funded entirely through private donations, has many features named in recognition of alumni and special friends of the college.

The main features of Grizzly Park include the H. Dean Evans Track and Field Complex named in memory of Evans ’52, the Behrens Softball Field named in memory of Effie Behrens, a college trustee and 2005 honorary degree recipient who was deeply involved in helping the college remain connected to its American Baptist heritage, plus a 10-court tennis complex.