Springfield, Ohio – The Ohio Development Services Agency awarded Wittenberg University $4,547,681 in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits to aid in the restoration of the historic field house built in 1929 and the construction of the Health, Wellness & Athletics Complex.
The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program is administered in partnership with the Ohio History Connection’s State Historic Preservation Office. The State Historic Preservation Office determines if a property qualifies as a historic building and that the rehabilitation plans comply with the United States Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.
According to a press release, the Ohio Development Services Agency awarded $37.8 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits to 34 applicants planning to rehabilitate 55 historic buildings. The projects are expected to leverage approximately $285.3 million in private investments in 13 communities. The office reviewed 60 applications for 85 historic buildings in round 15 and together the applications requested a total of $155.3 million in tax credits. Applications were received from 21 Ohio communities, including nine communities new to the program.
“Wittenberg is one of the most important economic drivers in Clark County – they are in the top five and that is mostly because of the number of people they employ, the students they bring in and their ability to raise the quality of life through four-year degrees,” said Clark County Commissioner John Detrick, a graduate of Wittenberg University class of 1964. “This is a blessing for Wittenberg. It gives Wittenberg 10 percent of what is needed to improve the quality of life at Wittenberg and the whole Clark County community.”
Wittenberg's historic renovation and building project, expected to cost $30.6 million, is designed to touch the lives of current students, staff, and faculty, as well as many in the greater Springfield community.
“I am delighted to learn that Wittenberg University has received tax credits from the state to help refurbish the 1929 field house,” said Springfield City Commissioner Karen Duncan, a 1969 Wittenberg graduate. “I watched my husband, Ron Duncan, play basketball in that small gym with the windows rattling with enthusiasm and excitement in the 1960's. My grandson Liam Duncan is a freshman at Wittenberg, and should have a chance to see this historic building have a new life. This is a positive step for the community as well as for Wittenberg. Historic architecture is one of Springfield's most prized assets, and this is an opportunity to restore and update a magnificent building with such fond memories for many of us in the community as well as Witt alumni.”
Clark County has received only two state historic tax credit awards since the inception of this program. The project is eligible for additional tax credit allocation, up to the requested $5 million as it becomes available. A $10 million matching gift from Wes and Ann Bates, both 1970 graduates of Wittenberg, and additional support from the Board of Directors and alumni brings the total dollars raised to just over $17.1 million to date.
“The Wittenberg Health, Wellness & Athletics Complex is an investment in the future of Wittenberg University and our local community,” said Athletic Director Dr. Gary Williams. “The combination of outstanding academic programs, competitive athletics and diverse recreational opportunities are so vital to Wittenberg University. This new facility will allow us to improve enrollment at the university and create stronger partnerships with the greater Springfield community. Student success and retention is at the heart of the new initiative.”
The complex will reflect the interdisciplinary nature of academics and athletics at Wittenberg University. The restored and expanded facility is slated to include:
- An indoor 100-yard artificial turf surface to accommodate football, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, baseball and softball
- A six-lane, 300-meter indoor track
- A new 7,000-square foot weight room
- A sport performance, strength training and wellness center
- Technology-enabled classroom space
- Updated locker rooms
- Multi-purpose recreational rooms for group fitness classes and special-event space
- Spacious alumni/recruiting lounge
- Modernized court surfaces for tennis, volleyball and basketball
“This will leverage Wittenberg’s storied athletic tradition with new academic programs like exercise science, sport management and potentially some of the health sciences like the B.S. in nursing degree program, which prepares our students for opportunities within the community, region, and State of Ohio,” said Interim Vice President for Advancement Wendy Kobler. “Both the new facility and academic programs will help with recruitment of new students and retention of existing students in an overly competitive marketplace that faces fewer graduating high school seniors and continued price pressures.”
The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program provides tax credits in order to leverage the private redevelopment of historic buildings.
This year the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program has completed 100 projects. These first 100 projects generated more than $1.4 billion in investment, rehabilitated 120 historic buildings, and created 3,439 housing units. The projects are located in 28 communities around the state and encompass more than 8.7 million square feet of space.
Wittenberg employs more than 400 individuals with an annual operating budget of more than $50 million, and as Mike McDorman, President/CEO of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, stated “the second largest overnight stay generator in Clark County.”
For additional information, visit www.wittenberg.edu/hwa