SAU Buzz

Sports facility opens, work not finished

by Dan Molinero
Posted on Sep 07, 2017

Students and workers in front of the wellness center, which is still under construction

As the school year begins for 2017, one of the biggest and most prominent new features on campus is the new Wellness Center—an extension of Lee Lohman. For the past two years, Russell Construction and many campus departments have been hard at work to prepare the building for the 2017-18 school year. As the year begins, faculty, staff and students alike look forward to the building being completely finished.

The building boasts an impressive 80,000 square feet, with basketball courts, an indoor track, multiple weight rooms for athletes and non-athletes, and a 2,000 square foot multi-purpose room. Though construction is not complete, staff are hoping that we are near the end of all the work.

“I’m hoping within the next few weeks,” said Andy Milton, director of the Wellness and Recreation department, who has recently moved into the building. He and his department are located directly to the right of the main doors. “I wouldn’t say a specific date at all. Hopefully soon.”

Milton thinks that this new facility will provide a unique, comprehensive experience for students, but also for faculty  and staff looking to start new classes, intramurals or clubs.

“Based on the inquiries and early use of areas, we think it’s going to be great for general recreation, as well as all the classes that are held in here, and athletics,” he said. “These three entities are going to really benefit.”

Along with the athletic features, the building has several classrooms and conference rooms that will be used for various Wellness classes, PE classes, and meetings with student athletes.

The Admissions department is also excited for what this building brings to the university.

“It’ll be another great compliment to all the terrific features St. Ambrose has to offer a prospective or current student,” said Jamie Loftus, the new vice president of Enrollment Management. “Certainly wellness is a key ingredient to a wholesome experience—for mind, spirit and body. I think we do great things in our classrooms, and extraordinary things in our ministry, and I think this is a beautiful addition to keep the body ready and prepared for all the other challenges in life.”

As Admissions is already beginning tours for the 2018-19 year, Loftus believes that this facility gives Ambrose an edge that it did not have before.

“Not to put that in front of the main reason students come to college—which is to get a degree—but it’s a terrific asset to our type and size of university. I think we will be the envy of our direct competitors with this addition. It’s awe-inspiring to many students, just the potential focus that Ambrose has on that comprehensive collegiate experience,” he added. “They can use new equipment, state of the art labs, they can have some groups come over to do intramurals.”

Cody Boelens, a member of the network team at St. Ambrose, affirmed that the building is fully setup with numerous internet hotspots and new classroom equipment, to make sure that it is prepared to handle the kind of traffic it’s expected to receive.

 

Emily Floramo is a freshman at St. Ambrose majoring in behavioral neuropsychology and biology. “I’m very excited for the new opportunities that this Wellness Center will create as the school year goes on,” Emily Floramo, SAU freshman, said. “As a person who does like to work out, I can’t wait for it to open, and to be able to use it.”

Russell Construction workers tend to the landscaping around the building, one of the last areas that needs to be finished.

However, some students who have been here for a couple years have voiced frustration over this new addition.

“I am actually really excited for the Wellness Center,” said Jesce Gibbons, a senior in elementary education. “I’m just also frustrated; I feel its only focus is for sports now and kinesiology.”

Both Loftus and Milton, though, are confident that the facility will be beneficial to all students on campus.

“We’re waiting to get the recreation and cardio/weight area complete, which will be available to all students,” Milton said. “Getting that area complete and open will put us a lot closer [to finishing].”

“It’s not just meant to be for student athletes, but all students,” Loftus added.