Release courtesy of Matt Woodbury, SVSU Sports Information Director
UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - The
Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control approved moving
forward with plans to renovate and upgrade the 24-year-old Ryder
Center, which serves as SVSU’s primary indoor athletic
facility. The board took the action during their regular
meeting Monday, Feb. 11.
The $20 million project will consist of two phases. In May, construction will begin on a new field house that will include a 300-meter indoor track to replace the indoor and outdoor tracks SVSU currently uses. Attached to the north side of the current Ryder Center, the addition is scheduled to be completed in April 2014. The infield of the track will have a synthetic turf surface suitable for baseball, softball, football and soccer practice purposes.
"From an intercollegiate athletics perspective this facility will continue to help us attract top level student-athletes in all sports and continue to elevate our athletic programs to the highest level," stated SVSU Director of Athletics Mike Watson.
2014, phase II will begin on an extensive
renovation of the current building, which opened in 1989 and
includes academic classrooms and labs in addition to athletic
facilities. Notable improvements include reducing the seating
capacity in O’Neill Arena for basketball to 2,400 seats from
the current 3,500 to create a more intimate environment for fans.
Potential seating for other events, such as Commencement, will
increase from 4,000 seats to around 4,700 seats. This construction
phase is expected to be completed by November
The Ryder Center has many uses beyond intercollegiate athletics. SVSU has 17 student-led club sports programs serving 310 students this year, as well as 33 separate intramural leagues. During the 2011-12 academic year, SVSU recorded nearly 5,600 SVSU student participants in fitness, recreation, and/or intramural and club sports programs (students participating in more than one structured activity would be counted multiple times).
"The addition of this facility will greatly enhance the
University experience for all SVSU students, faculty and staff as
well as our region," added Watson.
Beyond SVSU purposes, the Ryder Center also hosts a number of community events, as well as high school athletic contests each year, including a number of swim meets since the 2012 renovation of the Gerstacker Regional Aquatics Center, funded in part by a grant from the Midland-based Gerstacker Foundation.
The Board authorized borrowing up to $13 million to finance the project. SVSU will supply the remaining funds from existing capital reserves.