Springfield, Ohio – Wittenberg University’s Office of Advancement is excited to announce that the Clark County Convention & Facility Authority (CFA) has awarded the university a grant of $375,000 in support of the Health, Wellness & Athletics Complex initiative.
This is the first time Wittenberg has been awarded funding from the CFA that provides support to public and/or not-for-profit organizations that require assistance to pay for existing facilities, new construction, expansion, repair and enhancement of a facility that directly targets growing the tourism economy in Clark County, Ohio through overnight stays.
The Clark County CFA reviews grant requests annually from Jan.1 through April 15 and funding decisions are made by the CFA Board of Directors based solely on the venues which meet the criteria of the legislation and an applicant’s ability and intent to attract visitors to generate hotel/motel room nights from outside Clark County as funding comes from bed taxes at Clark County hotels.
“This is well-deserved because Wittenberg is a major economic driver to the community in terms of tourism,” said Clark County Commissioner John Detrick, a graduate of Wittenberg University class of 1964. “This facility is a good example of why more people will visit Springfield. The CFA and Wittenberg is a natural match. We hope that more funds like this will continue to come for Wittenberg and other great tourist attractions like this facility is going to be.”
Wittenberg's historic renovation and building project, expected to cost $40.5 million, is designed to touch the lives of current students, staff, and faculty, as well as many in the greater Springfield community. Wittenberg has already raised $18.1 million in private donations, $4.5 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits and anticipates an additional $4 million in federal tax credits.
In addition to the renovation of the 1929 field house and the 1982 Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) Center, the university’s plan includes the construction of a new 125,000-square-foot indoor athletic facility attached to the north end of the HPER Center. The university has a $2 million endowment built into the plans, which will create $110,000 each year to run the indoor facility. Energy efficiencies in the design and materials will make that cost feasible.
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
The updated facilities will help with student and athlete recruitment and retention and allow the university to attract regional and national events that it currently cannot host.
Wittenberg has about 1,800 students and more than 350 employees. It currently brings about 4,100 overnight stays to Springfield each year with an estimated economic impact of $70 million annually.
“We would not have been successful without the support of several individuals who worked hard to make certain of this positive outcome,” said Vice President for Advancement Wendy Kobler. “It is with our sincerest appreciation that we thank the CFA for their support of Wittenberg University. With this financial support, we are one step closer to embarking on the next step of this exciting capital initiative. 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.”
Special thanks goes to:
Alicia Sweet Hupp, Wittenberg Board of Directors, Class of 1982
Andy Bell, Wittenberg Board of Directors
Tom Loftis, Emeriti Wittenberg Board of Directors
Bill Brougher, Chair, Springfield/Clark County Health, Wellness and Athletics Complex Committee
Rick Lohnes, President, Clark County Commission
John Detrick, Clark County Commissioner, Class of 1964
Karen Duncan, City Commissioner, Class of 1969
Ken Benne, Wittenberg Advancement, Class of 1963
Charlie McFarland, Wittenberg Finance & Administration, Class of 1992