Carroll Holds Groundbreaking of Nelson Stadium Enhancement Project

Nelson Stadium Groundbreaking

Carroll College Hosts Formal Groundbreaking of Nelson Stadium Enhancement Project
– Announces Naming Rights of Field –

Helena, MT – Carroll College held the formal groundbreaking for the Nelson Stadium Enhancement Project on Tuesday, April 2. The ceremony included the announcement of the naming rights for the new field. While March 18 marked the arrival of heavy equipment and the beginning of excavation for the project, Tuesday’s gathering was a celebration of achieving this milestone with key Carroll personnel and representatives, major donors, as well as lead contractors and stakeholders, in attendance.

The stadium enhancement project, which includes the installation of a synthetic turf field and stadium lighting, will transform the facility into a year-round venue for both athletic and community events by fall of 2024. Upon completion, the project will provide a vastly improved experience for Carroll’s athletes and students alike. By transforming the stadium from a game-only venue to a daily practice facility, it expands opportunities across the board. These improvements ensure consistent conditions, enhance practice efficiency, and extend usage hours for student-athletes. Additionally, the quality of competition is expected to improve, with the ability to host events in any weather and schedule multiple conference competitions on the same day. Moreover, the new facility supports expanded intramural programs and the development of club teams in emerging sports such as lacrosse, significantly enhancing the athletic and recreational opportunities for students at Carroll.

Since opening in 2001, Warren L. Nelson Stadium has been home to the Fighting Saints football and soccer teams that have a storied history of conference and national titles. It has also been a versatile venue, hosting college and high school graduations, and community sports events for over two decades. With its stunning views of Carroll College and Mount Helena, and spectator-friendly amenities, Nelson Stadium has stood out as a top-tier NAIA facility. With current renovations in progress, the stadium is set to embrace a new chapter, solidifying its legacy as a hub of athletic excellence and community spirit for years to come.

During the ceremony, Carroll College officials announced that the new playing surface will be named Valley Bank Field at Nelson Stadium. Valley Bank has entered into an agreement whereby they provided the college with a substantial investment in exchange for the naming rights of the field. With their significant contribution, Valley Bank has helped Carroll College reach the midway point of their $5 million fundraising goal.

“Valley Bank is thrilled to collaborate with Carroll College in making the new turf field a reality,” said Mark Anderson, President of Valley Bank. “We are confident that this project will have a significant positive impact on the local Helena community, and we would like to express our gratitude to Dr. Cech and Carroll College for giving us the opportunity to partner together.”

“This is a very exciting day for both Carroll College and Valley Bank. We appreciate Valley Bank’s support of this important community project which will benefit both Carroll College student-athletes as well as the wider Helena area,” said Dr. John Cech, President of Carroll College. Carroll anticipates that over the next year, Valley Bank Field will see a significant rise in community and athletic events, with an expected attendance approaching 46,000 people. There is a commitment and expectation to not only continually increase the quantity of events held at the stadium but also to significantly boost the number of attendees over the coming years, with a target goal of 80,000 attendees in five years. “The impact on our Helena community will be considerable,” said Cech.

With these upgrades, the capacity of Nelson Stadium and Valley Bank Field to host events will substantially increase, catering to not only high school and collegiate sports and tournaments but also opening up the opportunity for concerts and other events. These additions promise a direct positive impact on local businesses and are expected to bolster the hospitality sector as well as the broader Helena economy. An economic impact study conducted by Circle Analytics estimated that events which bring an additional 8,800 people to Helena will have a $1.4 million annual impact during the first year of the project with rapid growth with successive years.

The turf installation is scheduled to be completed in August in time for Carroll’s fall athletic season. Fundraising for the Nelson Stadium Enhancement Project continues with a projected fundraising goal of $5,000,000. Carroll College invites the community to be part of this exciting new chapter for both the college and the Helena community. Dr. John Michelotti ’90 from Helena and Tom Downey ‘75 from Butte are co-chairing the fundraising effort along with an extensive team of volunteers.  

For more details or to contribute to the Nelson Stadium Enhancement Project, please contact John Girolami, Major Gifts Officer for Institutional Advancement,, (406) 447-5403 or Charlie Gross, Director of Athletics,, (406) 447-5480.

To learn more about the Nelson Stadium Enhancement Project, please visit To contribute to the project, please visit the Nelson Stadium Enhancement Fund.

Contribute to the fund now