TEX TURNER ARENA -- Basketball
The Tex Turner arena has been the home of the Railsplitters and Lady Railsplitters since 1991. Since then, it has become known as one of the top basketball facilities at the Division II level. The arena replaced the Mary E. Mars Gymnasium, which had been the home of LMU basketball since 1948.
The arena also serves as a practice facility for the golf, soccer, baseball and softball teams. The auxiliary gym contains batting cages and there is an indoor practice tee used by the golf teams.
Over the years, several concerts as well as district and regional tournaments have been held in the arena. The LMU spring and fall commencement services and pinning ceremonies have been held there since 1991.
LMU’s athletic offices are located on the lower level. Offices located here are the administrative offices, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer and baseball . Also located on the lower level are the athletic training offices, the university press and the university post office. The LMU Athlete's Hall-of-Fame, the Turner Room and a classroom are also located on the lower level and are often used by campus and community groups for meetings and other functions.
The recently refurbished training room and weight room are located on the lower level within easy access of the playing floor and air-conditioned dressing rooms. The men's basketball dressing room underwent extensive renovations in the summer of 2011.
The upper level contains a ticket office and other offices as well as the Dean Bailey Trophy Room, which houses trophies and other memorabilia dating back to the 1920’s and is a memorial to former coach Dean Bailey. The upper concourse also is open to the public as a walking track and is extremely popular with the local community.
Entrances to the building are located on the north, south, and east ends. There are a total of 24 entrance doors to the arena (handicap access is available on both levels).
The arena was named after former LMU football and basketball standout B. Frank "Tex" Turner, who donated the funds for it’s construction. Work on the multi-million dollar facility began on May 7, 1988 and on Feb. 2, 1991 the Railsplitters and Lady Railsplitters held their first contests in the facility when they hosted the University of Alabama-Huntsville in a doubleheader. The women won 112-95 and the men lost 85-69.
MARS GYMNASIUM -- Volleyball
The LMU volleyball team plays all of its home matches in the historic Mary E. Mars Gymnasium, the home of LMU volleyball since the program came into existence in 1989. From 1992-end of the 2011 regular season the Lady Railsplitters have compiled a 167-76 record, good for a .687 winning percentage.
Since the opening of the Turner Arena in 1991, the facility has been used almost exclusively by the volleyball team. Beginning in 2004, the facility has undergone extensive renovations including a new scoreboard, technology upgrades at the scorers table/press row, repairs to the locker rooms, new windows and new glass-door entrances. The facility will host the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Volleyball Tournament in 2011.The facility seats 1,500 spectators for athletic events, and houses offices and classrooms. The volleyball offices were moved here in 2004 and are located next to the West entrance.
The Mars Gymnasium also has a state-of-the-art weight room used by the LMU students, faculty and staff. Several classes are taught in the facility using both the court and a classroom located in the front of the building. The J. Frank White Academy also uses the facility as their home basketball court.
The building now known as Mars Gymnasium was originally a sports arena at Camp Forrest, an Army post in Tullahoma, Tennessee, (now a part of Arnold Air Force Base known as the Arnold Engineering Development Center) from 1941-1946. One of the more famous people using the future Mars Gymnasium during this period was General George S. Patton, who used the facility in 1941- 42 to help train the 2nd Armored Division. Later in the war, Camp Forrest was also used as a prisoner of war camp and the gymnasium was used by German and Italian POWs. After the war, Camp Forrest was closed and the building was no longer in use.
In 1946, LMU began a $75,000 campaign for a new athletics facility and it was suggested that the Camp Forrest building be bought and moved to the campus. The building was renamed Mary E. Mars Gymnasium after the mother of a former member of the Board of Trustees, Sam Mars Sr., and dedicated to all mothers everywhere. Mars Gymnasium was officially opened on November 29, 1948, in a basketball game which saw the Railsplitters fall 58-43 to the Tennessee Volunteers. In the 1950s the Mary S. Annan Natatorium was added to the building. Mars Gymnasium served as the home of the men’s and women’s basketball teams from 1948-1991.
NEELY FIELD -- Softball
The Dorothy Neely field has been the home of the Lady Railsplitters since the 1990 season.
The field complex seats approximately 375 people in bleacher seats, seating behind home plate, sideline benches and open areas for lawn chairs. The dimensions are 200 feet down the lines and 215 to center field. The playing surface is Bermuda grass. Batting cages and a bullpen are adjacent to the field, and teams can also use the baseball field cages and bullpen if needed.
A press box / storage facility was completed in 2011 behind home plate which includes space for scoreboard and statistical operations as well as equipment storage and the players' dressing room.
The dugouts are enclosed, and there are safety fences in the front to help protect players, coaches and staff from stray balls.
Lights were installed in 2003, and several night games are scheduled each year.
The Lady Railsplitters first played on the field on March 28, 1990, when they hosted former TVAC foe Milligan College. LMU won both games by scores of 4-3 and 8-5. Prior to that, home games were played on a part of the old LMU farm (the playing site is now included in the Harrogate City Park.) The field was officially dedicated on May 12, 1990.
Neely Field lies adjacent to the baseball field on part of the site of the old Cooper Field, which was the home of LMU baseball and football. For many years the baseball stands sat in what is now right field. (The baseball field was located in the same spot it is now, but home plate was in the area that is now left field.) The visiting football sidelines were located roughly along the right field line as well.
HENNON FIELD -- Baseball
The Lamar Hennon Field seats 1,100 (not including the parking areas along the outfield) and was officially dedicated on Nov. 4, 1989.
It is the oldest athletic facility on campus still in use as the field site itself, then called Cooper Field, has been used since 1910. It was also the home of the LMU Airedale/Railsplitter football team and portions of it were used for track and field events by the LMU track team. Until the renovation of the site in 1988-89, home plate was located in the area now comprising left field, and the stands and LMU tennis courts were adjacent to the right field line.
In the late 1980's Lamar Hennon, a 1959 graduate of LMU and an All-VSAC catcher, spearheaded the effort to renovate and modernize the baseball facilities as LMU made the move from NAIA to the NCAA Division II. The field and stands area were renamed the Lamar Hennon Field in his honor.
Within the past few years lights have been installed and the field resurfaced.
LMU SOCCER FIELD -- Soccer
Construction on the new LMU Soccer stadium began in 2007. The field is adjacent to the site of Gibbs Field, the home of the LMU soccer teams from 1990-2007.
The settings include a 120x80 yard bermuda grass field, european style goals, and brand new score board. The large dugouts also feature storage areas and two bathrooms in addition to covered benches.
Beginning in 2010, the plans are to add concrete stands to sit 200 people and a two story press box with a concession stand and bathrooms.
At this point the LMU soccer locker rooms are located in the Tex Turner Arena but an area in a planned fieldhouse has been designated for locker rooms at the stadium site.