SU to build new indoor athletics center

Shenandoah University has announced plans to construct a new 77,000 square foot indoor athletics and events center next to the Shentel Stadium.

According to a Wednesday news release, the university’s Board of Trustees approved plans for the facility on April 20. Earl Swensson Associates, the Nashville-based company that designed the university’s student housing facility that is under construction, also designed the center. Howard Shockey & Sons will construct the center, and the university hopes to break ground sometime in the fall.

Emily Burner, director of media relations at the university, stated in an email that a group of philanthropic donors has funded most of the facility’s total cost of around $25 million. Shenandoah University will look to fundraise the final $2 million with donations.

The center will include a wooden basketball court encircled by a 200-meter track with six lanes, as well as throwing and batting cages, field event stations, eight sprint lanes and both home and away locker rooms. Fieldhouse space would account for 63,000 square feet out of the total 77,000 square feet.

The release states that the facility will meet NCAA speculation requirements for indoor track, basketball and volleyball. Retractable seating in the facility would be able to accommodate 1,600 people.

The yet-unnamed center will provide a larger competition center for spectators as well as practice space for the university’s 21 athletic teams and 480 student athletes. Doug Zipp, director of intercollegiate athletics, said in the release that the facility’s location near Interstate 81 is a great visibility factor.

Shenandoah University President Tracy Fitzsimmons stated in the release that the center would also serve as a community venue for concerts, speakers and other events. The center would have an event seating capacity of up to around 5,000 people.

The university’s standing Shingleton Gymnasium was built in 1969 and provides for up to 500 spectators. Once the new center is in use, students and faculty would use the older building as an auxiliary gymnasium and center for athletic offices.

More information about the center can be found at http://tinyurl.com/hcmhaxf.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com

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