Oklahoma Christian University officials and supporters broke ground this month on the new Eagle Trail honoring Tom and Judy Boker and Mack and Sue Wedel.
The new trail, set to open later this year, will promote fitness on campus and further connect Oklahoma Christian with the surrounding community.
The side-by-side asphalt and crushed granite trails will span a distance of three miles around the campus and feature lighting, landscaping and five security phones.
It will connect with the growing Edmond trails system and, eventually, with the Oklahoma City trails system.
A $605,000 grant by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation was matched by private donors to fund the project.
Greg and Valari (Boker) Wedel provided the lead gift in honor of their parents. Greg is a member of OC’s Board of Trustees and Valari is a 1982 OC alumna.
“There are a lot of benefactors that have been helpful with this trail, chief among those were our friends Greg and Valari Wedel. They have a lifestyle that is very compatible with this trail. I hope this becomes a new emphasis on fitness and health at Oklahoma Christian,” OC president Dr. Mike O’Neal said.
Recent fitness initiatives, led by “Team OC,” have benefitted the campus and community. Each year, about 500 students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends participate in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, sometimes ranking as the biggest group in the event. For more information about Team OC, go to www.oc.edu/teamoc.
“The idea of the trail came along as the popularity of Team OC grew,” said OC dean of students Neil Arter, who spearheaded the trails initiative. “We were encouraging people to get active and run, but that meant that we had more people running on campus.”
Oklahoma Christian will host an inaugural fun run/walk this fall to help dedicate the trail.
“Neil has been persistent to make this happen, and without all the work he has done with government officials, with our benefactors, and with the university, I assure you we wouldn’t be breaking ground for this trail today,” O’Neal said. “Neil does that out of a passion for these students and for our desire that our education be holistic. That means we’re not just concerned about what goes on between the ears; we’re concerned about what they do in life, their health and in all aspects of their lives. This trail will help us as we try to show healthier lifestyles and as all of us get to enjoy more of this beautiful campus.”