HAVRE — After announcing a $500,000 donation from Frances Baltrusch of Havre on Saturday, Montana State-Northern is $823,050 short of its goal of raising $3 million before phase one construction begins on a new on-campus sports complex.
The school announced plans to build a football field on campus earlier this month. The gift from Baltrusch is the largest single gift to date and one of the largest from an individual supporter in MSU-Northern's 90-year history, according to a press release from the MSU-Northern Alumni Foundation.
On Sept. 20, the foundation announced donations of $400,000 from the Tilleman family and $150,000 from Independence Bank. In all, $2,176,950 has been raised.
The goal for MSU-Northern is to raise the balance of the funds needed early next spring so construction can be finished before the 2020 season. The hope is alumni and other supporters help raise the remaining funds with contributions and pledges.
Northern, an NAIA school which competes in the Frontier Conference, currently plays home contests at Havre High School's Blue Pony Stadium.
“Nearly 100% of these gifts have come from Montana’s Hi Line, so the grassroots, community-level support for this effort has been incredible,” said MSU-Northern Chancellor Greg Kegel in a press release. “Successful athletic programs are a major factor in a student’s college choice.
“When this project comes to fruition, the sports complex will enhance much more than our football program. We will bring people together in a community center for events of all kinds, space dedicated to athletic conditioning, and classroom space for Health and Human Performance courses. All of this activity will contribute to the long-term health of our campus.”
Kegel added the recent fundraising success is motivating, but the clock is ticking to get phase one completed and built in time for next season.
Pledges will help with construction costs as Independence Bank is loaning the value of all pledges made to Northern Alumni Foundation at zero-interest.
“We need the support of friends of Northern in the Havre community and beyond to help to get there,” Kegel said in the release. “Together, we’ll get the stadium built and set MSU-Northern on a firm footing for ongoing future success.”