Springfield-area leaders and local media visited Wittenberg’s campus, Feb. 27, to get a special preview tour of the University’s new Health, Wellness and Athletics (HWA) facilities. In addition to an hour-long tour led by Wittenberg Vice President and Director of Athletics Gary Williams, the event offered an opportunity for guests to hear from President Michael L. Frandsen, ask questions, and learn more about how these facilities support Wittenberg’s commitment to student success and ongoing community engagement.
“This initiative is an investment in Wittenberg’s future, our community, and this region,” Frandsen said. “The tremendous impact of these new facilities is already being felt, and we are confident that this is only the beginning of what will be a true game changer in student success, engaged learning, community, health and well-being, and intercollegiate athletics excellence.”
Rising high above Edwards-Maurer Field, “The Steemer” serves as a visual focal point of Wittenberg’s Health, Wellness and Athletics (HWA) restoration and expansion initiative, which continues to inspire as construction moves into its final phase. Scheduled to be fully operational by Wittenberg’s annual Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, Oct. 24-27, the HWA facilities will elevate the institution's commitment to student success and community building, and set the standard for excellence in Division III.
Once inside the HWA, visitors will find a fully restored 1929 gymnasium, expanded athletic training facilities, classrooms, and a laboratory to support Wittenberg’s programs in exercise science, sport management, and the graduate program in coaching, as well as other health-related educational opportunities. Locker rooms, Pam Evans Smith Arena, and the lobby area of the 1982 Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) Center will be improved, including the creation of a Hall of Honor featuring interactive displays sharing Tiger history.
The Steemer, the new 135,000-square-foot indoor athletics complex, includes a 300-meter track, a playing surface that will accommodate football, soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey, batting cages, a strength center, and a new press box, concession stand, and restrooms for Edwards-Maurer Field.
Thanks to a lead gift from Columbus-area residents, Wes Bates, chairman and CEO of Dublin-based Stanley Steemer, and wife Ann Bates, both Wittenberg class of 1970, The Steemer will provide a best-in-class indoor practice experience and serve as a catalyst for innovation and partnership on campus and off, drawing students, faculty, and staff together, and inspiring the region and local community to create powerful engagement opportunities that benefit all.
The restored and expanded facilities will also help with student recruitment and retention and allow Wittenberg to attract more regional and national events, all while supporting the University’s 25 intercollegiate athletics teams and multiple club sports. Wittenberg, a major Springfield employer, has about 1,800 students and more than 350 employees with an estimated $70 million impact on the region’s economy.
“We have literally changed the game through these facilities,” Frandsen said, “and we cannot wait to celebrate with our alumni, friends and our community when all the facilities open this fall.”
A closer look at the facilities:
- New Indoor Facility – At 135,000-square-feet, The Steemer offers a 120-yard artificial turf surface and a six-lane, 300-meter indoor track. It will also boast a new 6,000-square-foot weight room.
- Renovated Fieldhouse – The newly renovated, historic 1929 Fieldhouse is now an epicenter of activity with technology-enabled classrooms, modernized court surfaces for volleyball and basketball, and open office spaces.
- Classroom and Community Spaces – Dated, interior spaces within the current facility confines are being renovated to include a strength training and wellness center, a multipurpose recreational room for group fitness classes, and spacious gathering spots in which students can study or relax. These areas will also be used for recruitment-centered needs.
- Locker Rooms – New team locker rooms will now scream Tiger pride and success.
Designed by Youngstown, Ohio-based ms consultants, inc., the HWA facilities are being built by Dayton, Ohio-based Danis.
For more information about the initiative and its impact on the community or how to support the project, visit www.wittenberg.edu/hwa. For a compilation of media coverage and social media engagement, click here.
Photos Courtesy of John Coffman