With completion scheduled for some time early next year, Shawnee State University is in the midst of $3.5 million in renovations to its athletic facilities.
Billed as Phase 1-B of a three-part overall plan, the renovation plans currently include:
– A 4,200 square-foot recreation center for students, faculty staff and community members. The new recreation center includes new aerobic, cross fit and free weight equipment.
– A new performance weight room for student athletes.
– New locker rooms for visiting teams, cross country and track teams and students using the facilities.
– A new lobby and entryway off the north entrance of the building.
– Renovated staff offices providing open areas and meeting spaces where coaches can meet with prospective student-athletes.
– A new athletic training room.
“Our programs and facilities in athletics serve a diverse group of people with diverse needs,” said SSU Athletics Director Jeff Hamilton. “We want each of those groups – athletes, coaches, students, faculty, staff, Golden Bears, volunteers, fans, visiting teams and community members – to have a great experience at Shawnee State University. Our renovation projects are designed to help us continue to improve the way that everyone in our community interacts with SSU athletics.”
From the outside, the ongoing construction appears to be renovations to the existing Rhodes Athletic Center. According to information provided by SSU Communications Director Elizabeth Blevins, SSU hopes to find additional funding for Phase 2 of additions and renovations to their athletic facilities.
“This phase will begin once funding is available for the project,” Blevins said in an email. “A fundraising campaign is underway through the SSU Development Foundation.”
With a price tag of $10 million, Phase 2 may encompass updates to the Waller Gymnasium to include a new entryway at the east entrance and an updated hospitality suite in the Rhodes Center. SSU officials also are looking at a new softball field and outdoor building for soccer, cross country and tennis teams.
SSU already completed some additions and renovations to the Rhodes Center as well as making other investments in athletics, to include expanded teams.
Since 2017, SSU added men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams, men’s and women’s bowling, men’s tennis and Esports, the latter of which seemingly is a very good fit given the school’s national, if not international, reputation in the area of video game creation and programming.
SSU also launched its first men’s and women’s swimming team, naming, as was previously announced in the Daily Times, former Portsmouth schools coach and one time NFL player Gerald Cadogan the school’s first swimming coach.
According to Blevins, Phase 1-A of the physical renovations and additions to SSU’s athletic facilities consisted of $1.4 million in improvements to the Warsaw Aquatic Center. Blevins added this phase was completed in time for local high school swimming teams to use the center during their 2018 seasons. The improved facility is, of course, home to SSU’s brand-new swim teams.
Fliers floating around the SSU campus and certain other locations in Portsmouth advertise some coming changes to SSU’s dining program. Blevins said SSU named a new contractor to provide food service for the school. Plans for the future include a small convenience store, a small take-out Mexican restaurant and what is billed as a 24-hour market. Blevins stated those new amenities would be open to the public but primarily are aimed at SSU students.
Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370-0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.