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A Field of Dreams

The new facilities were made possible by a $1 million lead gift from the Forest Akers Trust and $300,000 from the family of loyal band parents, Ed and Wanda Eichler.

A Field of Dreams

No longer will Spartan Marching Band members risk twisted ankles from practicing on muddy, rutted lawn. Hundreds of MSU intramural and club athletes will throw, catch and kick on a field worthy of their efforts. And countless more students will delight in participating in a myriad of health promoting activities, from middle school summer sports camps to graduate level kinesiology courses.

All of this is thanks to the newest addition to the MSU campus landscape: a regulation-sized artificial turf field complete with a two-level teaching tower and accessible bleacher seating for 500.

The new facilities were made possible by a $1 million lead gift from the Forest Akers Trust and $300,000 from the family of loyal band parents, Ed and Wanda Eichler.

In the early 1960s, Forest Akers, a former MSU Trustee, established a trust fund to support students of MSU by funding projects with broad appeal to the university community. The partnership of the trust together with the collaboration of the College of Music, Student Affairs and Services, and Intercollegiate Athletics made this project a reality; one that will long impact the quality of the Spartan student experience.

A safe place that replicates the well-tended stadium fields where the Spartan Marching Band typically performs was long overdue. For years, the 300 students enrolled in Music 114—the course for the band—did most of their work on Demonstration Hall Field. They practiced even when that field had been churned into sloppy puddles or the uneven surface was frozen solid.

Conversations Ed Eichler initiated with College of Music leadership were the genesis for the new turf field. 

Helping the marching band achieve its dreams is not new to the Eichlers. The band’s signature “all brass and sax” sound has an electrifying edge thanks to Ed and Wanda. The 62 silver, custom designed trumpets seen and heard today are also thanks to their generosity. The Eichlers also supported the color guard, adding an extra boost to the visual excitement of the band.

The new Forest Akers Trust Practice Complex and Ed and Wanda Eichler Family Teaching Tower and Gallery occupy the southeast corner of Munn Field.

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