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Body and Mind

Campaign for new Health, Wellness & Athletics Complex continues forward momentum

Springfield, Ohio – Through the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program administered by the National Park Service (NPS), the rehabilitation of Wittenberg University’s historic field house, built in 1929, and the construction of its Health, Wellness & Athletics Complex will receive approximately $3.9 million in federal historic tax incentives, putting the institution one step closer to achieving its goal of $40.5 million for the project, which includes a $2 million endowment that will create $110,000 each year to run the indoor facility.

"After almost three years of hard work and a lot of planning by the board, administration and our team of professionals, Wittenberg has the opportunity to restore our historic field house that has meant so much to so many of us and provide new, state-of-the art facilities for our current and future students, faculty and the Springfield community," said Wittenberg Board of Directors member and 1977 graduate Jim Wymer of WXZ Development.

According to its website, the federal historic tax credit revives forgotten treasures of the past, fosters private sector rehabilitation of historic buildings, promotes economic revitalization and is the federal government’s most significant financial investment in historic preservation. Permanently written into the tax code more than 40 years ago, it has leveraged over $106 billion in private investment, created 2.35 million jobs and adapted more than 38,700 buildings for productive uses.

The website also explained that incentives are available for buildings that are National Historic Landmarks, listed in the National Register, and that contribute to National Register Historic Districts and certain state or local historic districts. Properties must be rehabilitated according to standards set by the Secretary of the Interior. The National Park Service reviews and then issues approval following the completion of the work. Entities apply for both state and federal tax credits – which is the process that Wittenberg University went through to qualify for the combined credit.

In December of 2015, the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) awarded $4.5 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits to the field house project. Because the request was for $5,000,000 and ODSA could only allocate $4.5 million at the time of the award, the project will be given the additional $500,000 in state historic tax credits as more allocation becomes available. With the federal credits the project will benefit from approximately $8.9 million in historic tax credits. To make its award, ODSA analyzes the economics of the project; metrics include the number of construction and permanent jobs created, income and sales tax generated from the project, unemployment and poverty levels in the city and census tract, and local participation in the project. The highest scoring projects are awarded state historic tax credits.

Wittenberg's historic restoration and expansion project is designed to touch the lives of current students, staff and faculty, as well as many in the greater Springfield community.

In addition to restoring 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 updated facilities will help with student recruitment and retention and allow the university to attract regional and national events that it currently cannot host. Wittenberg has about 1,700 students and more than 350 employees.

The complex will reflect the interdisciplinary nature of academics and athletics at Wittenberg University. Groundbreaking for the new facility project is slated for March 2017 and will take approximately 18 months to complete. The new complex will 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

For additional information, visit www.wittenberg.edu/hwa

                                 -Cindy Holbrook, Office of University Communications

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About Wittenberg

A nationally ranked university for the liberal arts and sciences affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Wittenberg University has repeatedly been ranked throughout the years by the Princeton Review for the quality of its teaching and faculty, including 11th in the nation for “Best Classroom Experience” and 15th in the category “Professors Get High Marks” in the 2011 edition of Princeton’s annual Best Colleges guide. Most recently, Wittenberg earned the No. 4 spot in the category of “Most Accessible Professors.” Wittenberg appeared in the Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges in 2013 and again in 2015. Additionally, Wittenberg currently has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any other four-year institution in the state, and has been recognized nationally for excellence in service and athletics.

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