News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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October 18, 2013

SMWC announces groundbreaking of new rec center

ST. MARY-OF-THE-WOODS — Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College is planning a December groundbreaking for a new, $11 million sports and recreation center.

After college president Dottie King announced the news to a gathering of faculty, staff, trustees and students Friday morning, a long applause ensued.

“This is really a proud moment for Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College because it is a result of the passion, the loyalty and the vision of the people in this room,” King said, her voice filled with emotion.

Some have labored for more than 10 years to make the Sports and Recreation Center a reality, she said.

The college’s basketball team will be able to have home games, she noted, a comment that also drew enthusiastic applause. Now, the team practices and plays homes games at a community center in Clinton.

“We’ve dreamed and we’ve hoped, and sometimes our hopes have faltered because it has taken so long,” King said. “It’s with a great amount of joy, but also thanksgiving, that I make this announcement.”

The 45,000 square-foot building will be located on the west edge of campus, behind the Mary and Andy Rooney Library, where King made her announcement Friday. It will have an NCAA regulation-sized gym seating about 1,000 spectators as well as a practice gym that could be used for intramural sports.

It will feature a 2,000-square-foot lobby, with flexible space for functions and activities, as well as locker rooms, a training room, a fitness room, storage space and offices for a growing athletic program.

The facility will address health and wellness needs of students, faculty and staff and the community. Also, summer youth camps and other programs could provide revenue to the college.

The facility also will have Silver LEED environmental certification.

The one-story facility will have a masonry and concrete facade with features “that pick up on some of the existing architecture on the campus,” said Brian Kooistra, vice president with Garmong Construction Services, the project construction manager.

URS Corp. out of Indianapolis is the architect/engineer.

The goal is for the facility to be completed in 10 months, which means it would be open in time for the 2014-15 basketball season.

Officials believe the new facility will help recruit students and student-athletes.

Just a year ago, the college announced the public phase of its campaign — and now it is in a position to move forward with construction.

While the college has secured sufficient funding to move forward, the Pomeroy Pride campaign is not yet over.

The Woods is still working on the final $1.3 million to meet its $11 million goal, “but we felt certain enough that we have the pathways to make that happen and we decided it’s time to make this a reality and go forward,” King said.

She invited college friends, alumni and employees to share in the college’s success by contributing to the campaign.

King noted that for the past 1 1/2 years, “Terre Haute has partnered with us in a very significant way” in the project. On Friday evening, she announced the groundbreaking plans to the Terre Haute community during a gala event.

“This is really not only a Saint Mary-of-the- Woods project, it’s a community project now,” King said.

The Woods president said she’s “honored and humbled” by the generosity of donors. “I just want to thank everyone who’s helped to make this a reality.”

The successful conclusion of the campaign will mean the most to students, she said. “This is a symbolic sign of the college going forward.”

Everyone on campus will more easily be able to attend home basketball games at the new SMWC facility, “an experience that as of yet we’ve not known. … How fun will that be?” King asked.

Athletes will have a place to train and work out, and all students will benefit from a fitness facility and a gym for intramural sports.

The new facility can also be used for commencement. “I don’t think we yet know all the things that will be accomplished at this building,” King said.

Among those celebrating the news is Deanna Bradley, the college’s athletic director and basketball coach. Hired 22 years ago, she was told at that time “I’d have a facility in five years.”

It’s taken a little longer, but she’s ecstatic. “It’s a reality that is just absolutely amazing,” Bradley said. “A lot of people have put in a lot of hard work to get this done.”

The impact on the campus will be “far-reaching,” she said, and she’s looking forward to having home games on campus.

The facility also “will have a tremendous impact on recruiting, especially for basketball,” Bradley said. Outdoor sports teams also will benefit from an indoor facility.

The college also hopes to start a new volleyball program.

Mikayla Metheny, a Woods sophomore and basketball player, said she “can’t wait” to play in the new gym next year. “I think it will do a lot of great things for our team.”

The Terre Haute South Vigo graduate believes the new facility will mean greater attendance at Woods home basketball games and promote Pomeroy Pride.

“I think it will make us grow as an institution,” Metheny said.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

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