Wayne State College athletics has announced plans to construct a $26.5 million athletic and recreation facility renovation project, which includes the addition of an air-supported indoor structure and major renovations to the Recreation Center, Rice Auditorium and the Kirk Gardner Indoor Athletic Complex.
This will be a three-phase project beginning with the new indoor facility, construction on the project is set to begin in spring of 2023 with a tentative completion date set of fall 2025.
Over the last three years, WSC has seen 20 percent growth in enrollment, 200 percent growth in club sports, 25 percent growth in intramural participation, and the addition of two varsity athletic programs. Because of this growth, facilities need to be developed to service all needs.
“The athletics, recreation and student wellness initiative exemplifies Wayne State’s balanced approach to meeting the needs of students who have a passion for success on and off the field of play,” stated WSC President Dr. Marysz Rames. “This project will provide our students with opportunities to continue their lifelong commitment to athletics and recreation in outstanding facilities that mirror their drive and commitment to excellence.”
The feature item of the project is a new air-supported indoor structure connected to the Recreation Center. The structure will create a full scale indoor, multi-functional practice, competition and recreation facility with artificial turf and house an indoor 300-meter synthetic track surface. The facility will also create enhanced indoor throws and jump areas and new men’s and women’s track and field locker rooms and office space. In addition to providing practice and competition space for varsity programs, club sports and intramural activities, this new facility will also provide opportunities for regional service through competitions, youth camps and sports leagues.
The Recreation Center and Alley Expansion will be a central point and control for the new indoor facility, featuring a larger student weight room and an auxiliary weight room specifically for intercollegiate athletics, club sports and academics. The new-look Recreation Center will showcase increased square footage for student fitness including additional basketball/volleyball/recreational court space, cardiovascular equipment, multi-use fitness spaces, and overall improvement of pedestrian flow between facilities that includes patron access to Rice Auditorium.
Renovations to Rice Auditorium include increasing the size of the lobby to support ticketing and concessions for intercollegiate athletic programs and the creation of a practice court in the current Kirk Gardner Indoor Athletic Complex for women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, club sports and intramural activities.
The expansions and renovations are intended to raise the recruiting and competitive profile of WSC’s NCAA Division II athletic programs while also impacting retention and enhancing the current student-athlete experience.
“This transformational, facility construction and renovation project will be incredibly impactful on Wayne State College’s intercollegiate athletics, recreation and student-wide wellness programs,” remarked Wayne State Director of Athletics Mike Powicki. “These are historic improvements which will be critical in our ability to continue to recruit and retain phenomenal students by providing an exceptional overall student engagement experience.”
Powicki added, “If we include the projects of converting of our outdoor soccer pitch to artificial turf and the creation of a fan club room in Rice Auditorium that are currently underway, we will be approaching $30 million in remarkable facility improvements at Wayne State College over the next few years“.
The Wayne State Foundation continues to actively fundraise to supplement the college funds that will pay for all of the projects.