Complex gets closer

Shawntaye Hopkins

Student athletes are getting closer to having a new place to study, train and prepare for games.

A monetary agreement for the Academic and Athletic Performance Complex, that would be near Smith Stadium, was recently made and an architect will be hired to analyze the project in the next few months.

About $2 million for the project has been raised from donors and an oral agreement for $500,000 has been made, said Tom Hiles, vice president for Institutional Advancement.

The gift will officially be announced soon, Hiles said.

President Gary Ransdell said there is still a lot of work to be done before the project can begin.

“The concept is important and a missing element in our athletics program right now,” he said.

Institutional Advancement wants to complete fundraising while Athletic Director Wood Selig finalizes plans for the center so the project can move forward as quickly as possible, Hiles said.

Several projections have been made about the cost of the project, but an exact amount has not yet been determined, Selig said.

Hiles said his office plans to raise between $5 million and $10 million.

Plans for the complex have been under way since fall 2002, Selig said. The architect will analyze the area at the end zone of Smith Stadium near the railroad tracks for placement of the complex.

“While Diddle Arena is a first-class facility, we’re terribly short on space for academic support and training,” he said.

The building will house an academic advising center, computer lab, tutoring rooms, space for academic advisers, intercollegiate athletics training room and a weight room about three times larger than the room in Diddle, Selig said.

There will also be locker rooms and meeting rooms for the football team, he said.

“For just about all of our student athletes, this will be the final piece to our puzzle for our athletic facilities,” Selig said.

Reach Shawntaye Hopkins at [email protected]