FARGO - North Dakota State athletics dedicated the renovated $2 million softball complex with a grand opening Friday, renaming the facility Tharaldson Park.
NDSU president Dean Bresciani, athletic director Matt Larsen, entrepreneur and hotel magnate Gary Tharaldson, and Bison head softball coach Darren Mueller were among those who took part in the grand-opening program at Tharaldson Park.
"This is absolutely beautiful," Mueller said. "This is amazing."
The second phase of the project included replacing the entire softball playing surface with artificial turf, including the infield, outfield, warning track and bullpen areas.
"We have done something with this facility that is overdue, but I'm glad we waited because we were able to do it right," Bresciani said.
The seating capacity at the stadium increased to 735 with the addition of a 183-seat bleacher down the right-field line.
"This is now, we can fully say, a Division I softball field," Mueller added. "We have one of the top facilities in the country."
Tharaldson, from Dazey, N.D., is the founder of Tharaldson Companies, now known as Tharaldson Hospitality Management LLC, which builds and operates hotels across the United States. He is an avid sports fan and been a long-time supporter of softball in the region.
"I couldn't be prouder to have my name on a facility like this," Tharaldson said.