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College announces its intentions to build the Dr. Joseph F. and Honey Karpinski Athletic Stadium Complex

DATE: 06-11-2012

A collaborative arrangement between the College and the Auburn Enlarged City School District will create two turf stadiums in adjoining athletic complexes

Thanks to a $500,000 naming gift from Dr. Joseph F. Karpinski, Cayuga Community College is pleased to announce a new capital project—a 150,000-square-foot artificial turf stadium complex at the Auburn Campus.  The College announced its intention to develop the Dr. Joseph F. and Honey Karpinski Athletic Stadium Complex during a news conference on June 11 in the Spartan Hall Lobby.

“We thank Dr. Karpinski for his generosity in pledging the largest gift the College has ever received from a living individual,” said Cayuga Community College President Daniel P. Larson. “This gift truly has a transformational impact for not only the College but also for Auburn and Cayuga County. The Karpinski name has been associated with the College since our founding, so it is indeed fitting that the family name will have a permanent place on our new athletic stadium.”

The estimated $6 million Karpinski Athletic Complex includes a softball field, a baseball field, and a multi-use field that can be used to host College soccer and lacrosse games. The plans for 1,500-seat stadium also designate 5,000 square feet for locker rooms, dugouts for the softball and baseball fields, public restrooms, and a concession stand.

The College will seek $3 million in 50-percent matching funds from New York State, and will raise the remaining $2.5 million of the local share through Faculty Student Association funding, revenue from the student activity fee, rental income from the fields, and a capital fund-raising campaign.

The field will be located behind Spartan Hall on the Auburn Campus. While details of its exact location are being worked out, the Auburn Enlarged City School District has agreed to donate to the College approximately three acres of a “plateau field” behind Auburn Junior High School that adjoins the College property. In exchange, the College will turf Holland Stadium, creating a cluster of turf fields that will be able to host athletic tournaments, camps, concerts, marching band competitions, or other outdoor events.

“What I’m most excited about is the impact that this arrangement will have on the area five years from now,” said J.D. Pabis, superintendent of the Auburn Enlarged City School District. “We have lost shows and tournaments in this region because we don’t have turf fields. By having these two stadiums equipped with artificial turf, we will attract these large venue events to the area, and money will stream into such area businesses as hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and shops.”

The College and the school district are seeking ways to collaborate and share costs, including possibly sharing maintenance equipment for the turf fields, storage, locker rooms, and concession stands. 

“This doesn’t happen a lot in athletics, but I am happy to say this truly is a win-win,” said College Athletic Director Pete Liddell. “I’m happy that we could partner with the school district in this way. It benefits Spartan student-athletes, of course, but the fields will also be used by community organizations across the region.”

The arrangement with the College will enable the district to move forward with the turfing without burdening the taxpayers or requiring their vote.

The district’s land gift to the College will enable the land-locked college to limit the impact and help preserve the popular 25 acres of nature trails behind the Auburn Campus. The new stadium is expected to affect less than one acre of the nature trails, and won’t disrupt any of the ponds. The main entrance to the trails and the work-out equipment will likely be moved east toward the Nature Center.

Although the stadium will take away approximately 50 out of 972 parking spots, the College is exploring the use of a former tennis court as an added parking area, which could add approximately 56 spaces.

The announcement of Dr. Karpinski’s gift kicks off a series of steps to move the project forward. The College is working with the school district on finalizing the detailed arrangements of the land-turf exchange. Resolutions would need to be approved by the College Board of Trustees and the Cayuga County Legislature. The Board of Education is scheduled to vote on a resolution during its June 12 meeting in the Auburn High School Library. If all of the boards approve the arrangement, the proposal would go to SUNY to be included in its capital budget request to New York State.

“Through this stadium, we have the opportunity to serve student-athletes for years to come, helping to instill in them the life lessons found in athletic competition: teamwork, leadership, fair play, sacrifice, discipline, and lifelong wellness,” Larson said.

To view images of the field and get more details, visit www.cayuga-cc.edu/stadium.

About the Donors

In 1952, Auburn native and respected oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Joseph F. Karpinski Sr. entered a two-year residency at Jersey City Medical Center, where he met his future wife, Floryanna (Honey) Lesczynski, a nursing student from Plains, Pa. In 1956, Honey and Joe married in Plains, Pa. and settled in Auburn, N.Y.

Both Joe and Honey came from large Polish families who believed that education was integral to an individual’s success, and they instilled that into their own children. The couple’s six children all launched successful professional careers: Dr. Joseph F. Karpinski Jr., a family dentist and his wife Leslie of Scottsville, N.Y.; Dr. John D. Karpinski, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon of Palm City, Fla,; and Dr. Paul A. Karpinski, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon of Skaneateles; Dr. Kathryn M. Karpinski, an endodontist of  Skaneateles; Kristina Karpinski Engel, Esq., an immigration attorney and her husband Leonard of Hollister, Mass.; and Dr. Susan E. Karpinski Failla, a family practitioner, and her husband Peter of Flemington, N.J. He has 11 grandchildren and 20 nephews and nieces.

In addition to working 45 years as a respected oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Auburn, Dr. Karpinski has contributed tremendously to the local community, particularly to Cayuga Community College. He served on the College Board of Trustees from 1977 to 1986, and spearheaded the creation of the College Foundation in 1982, serving as its first President until 1986. He worked tirelessly to secure funding from others, and he has been a generous donor himself, including a naming gift for Karpinski Rotunda at the College and funding for several scholarships. During the College Commencement in May, Dr. Karpinski received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the State University of New York. Dr. Karpinski made scores of trips to Poland to provide medical services and supplies during the years of Communist rule, becoming personal friends with Lech Walesa and Pope John Paul II. Among his many honors, he was awarded the Knight of the Black Madonna at Jasna Gora by the Polish Government in 1993—the second American to ever receive this prestigious award.

For more information on these generous donors and the project, visit www.cayuga-cc.edu/stadium.