I’ve been thinking about the recent gathering at the Stryker Sports Complex. Getting together in person still feels new after a year in pandemic lockdown. Hearing from community leaders and bumping elbows with area change agents filled me with optimism. Just being at this dynamic, high-energy complex gave me joy.

Coming Together for Good

The dedication drew the parents of Tommy Peckham as well as former teammates. Tragically, in 1995 Tommy died as a 13-year-old on the Stryker soccer team while in Europe competing. A bronze sculpture of Tommy, created in 2000, now graces the Tommy Peckham Championship Field. It appears to almost be in flight as he heads the ball with his feet lifted off the ground. Watching Lieutenant Governor David Toland, Mayor Brandon Whipple, City Councilwoman Becky Tuttle, County Commissioner Pete Meitzner, Wichita Sports Forum Co-owner Tymber Lee and Stryker Founder Kevin Mullins speak in front of the sculpture, with kids playing on the field behind, brought new meaning to the term field of dreams.

Putting the Ball over the End-Line

Plans for this amazing regional attraction started decades ago by forward-thinking civic leaders. The location just north of K-96 and Greenwich makes it a hub for one of our most rapidly growing neighborhoods. I’m proud of the role our agency played in creating branding befitting Stryker’s stature. The championship field has seating for more than 2,000. The complex offers 11 all-sports fields with artificial turf, all with outdoor lighting, plus an 112,000-square-foot indoor facility designed to attract and accommodate all kinds of events and levels of competition.

The $22 million reimagining of the old soccer campus gives Wichita a national-caliber, multisport complex with wow factor and adds greatly to our region’s quality of life. It draws up to 150,000 visitors a year from a 350-mile radius. The kids and families who almost live at the fields generate an economic impact in the millions of dollars.

Where Everybody Wins

Greteman Group designers went to work generating a myriad of ideas to present to the City of Wichita Parks and Recreation Department. After a healthy debate, the team unanimously decided to select the clean, modern – and unexpected – solution. A bolt of lightning, signifying a boot kicking a ball, splits the crest in half and pairs the imagery with stars and stripes, creating a coat of arms. A large pylon entry sign stands tall and proud on Greenwich Street, beaconing visitors to turn in and play ball. Wayfinding graphics guide both vehicular and pedestrian traffic as players and fans head to the fields, concessions, indoor facility and parking. A communal bench serves as a meeting point next to a location map conveniently located inside the complex. The brand brings much needed color and energy to the flat fields of green turf. Everything feels big, muscular and filled with fun.

The year-round Stryker Sports Complex inspires me. So do the people who envisioned and made it happen. Our city’s better today as a result.