Valhalla groundbreaking

The groundbreaking for Berry College’s football field took place Friday. Pictured are: Karen Holley Horrell (from left), Steve Briggs, Steven J. Cage, Ouida Dickey, Randy Berry, Michele Griswell and Barry Griswell. (Tyler Greenawalt / Rome News-Tribune)

Berry College broke ground on Valhalla stadium Friday afternoon with food, fanfare and Viking faithful.

The stadium is expected to be completed in the summer of 2015, with an estimated cost of $6.9 million.

The stadium will include a synthetic turf field and eight-lane track, named Clark Track.

Berry football, men’s and women’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s track and field teams will use the stadium.

“Valhalla will provide a major venue for recreation, excitement, achievement, participation and just plain fun,” Berry president Steve Briggs said at the ceremony.

Briggs called the stadium another milestone in the school’s ongoing effort to enhance the campus and provide new opportunities for students, faculty and the community.

Steven J. Cage, a member of the board of trustees and alumnus, helped start the stadium project.

Cage called the stadium a collaboration of hard work, trust and leadership between multiple groups, from the board of trustees to the faculty to the students.

Cage said the name Valhalla was a perfect representation of what Berry’s stadium should be all about.

“The Viking folklore is that Valhalla is a place to battle the opponent to the end. Now I think, back in the Valhalla days, and the Viking says, ‘battle to the end’ may mean something different than the end of the game.”

Berry head football coach Tony Kunczewski said the stadium will help create another sense of pride for Berry’s students and fans, as well as bring new fans from the community to Berry’s campus.

“It’s huge,” he said. “From the football perspective, we’re indebted to all the people involved. Not just the football team, but the whole student body will benefit from this.”

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