From various proclamations to students sharing their stories at respective stations throughout the facility to special tours of the complex, the Grand Opening festivities will inspire all those present as they highlight the exciting new possibilities for experiential learning, community-building, and regional and national partnering now available through the HWA Complex. The Tiger Up spirit and the distinct role athletics has played and will continue to play in the life of Wittenberg will also be on full display.
Proclamations are expected to be read by Congressman Warren Davidson, Senator Bob Hackett, Representative J. Kyle Koehler, Mayor Warren Copeland, and a representative from Senator Sherrod Brown’s office. Sponsors for the Grand Opening event include Alpha & Omega, The Danis Group of Companies, and Ulmer Attorneys at the game-changer level, followed by Bill Edwards, Wittenberg class of 1989, and spouse Ashley Edwards, HP Group, MCM, and Steve and Mary Alice Neely, both Wittenberg class of 1975.
In addition to creating intentional opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to connect and engage in ways that deepen the close relationships that have been the cornerstone of the Wittenberg experience for generations, the HWA will also be home to the fully restored 1929 Gymnasium, expanded athletic training facilities, classrooms, and a laboratory to support Wittenberg’s program in exercise science. Restoration of the 1929 facilities was supported by federal and state historic tax credits.
Rising high above Edwards-Maurer Field, “The Steemer” serves as a visual focal point of the HWA’s restoration and expansion initiative. Made possible, in part, through 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. Just this month and thanks to a generous gift from Parkhurst Dining, The Steemer is now home to the Parkhurst Presidential Suite, which is already being used for special events.
Inside The Steemer, students, faculty, and guests will also find a 300-meter track, a 120-yard artificial playing surface that will accommodate football, soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey, batting cages, a 6,000-square-foot strength center, and a new press box, concession stand, and restrooms for Edwards-Maurer Field. Locker rooms, the Pam Evans Smith Arena, and the Legends Lobby area of the 1982 Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) Center have also been improved, including the creation of a Hall of Honor that will feature displays detailing Tiger history.
The restored and expanded facilities will help with student recruitment and retention, and allow Wittenberg to attract more regional and national events, while supporting the University’s 25 intercollegiate athletics teams and multiple club sports. Wittenberg, a major Springfield employer, has about 1,600 students and more than 350 employees with an estimated $70 million impact on the region’s economy.
Designed by Youngstown, Ohio-based ms consultants, inc., the HWA facilities were built by Dayton, Ohio-based Danis.
“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.”
Public tours of the complex will be available on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 9 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 10 a.m.
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 Field House 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 have been renovated to 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.