Pending funds, Bobcats could have new training building by fall 2013

Ohio University graduate student Adetunji Adedipe knows a thing or two about Athens. He played on the gridiron and the hardwood for the Bobcats and served with Student Senate during his four years as an undergraduate. The one surface he was never able to set foot on, however, was an indoor training facility.

If Ohio Athletics’ fundraising campaign goes as planned, athletes will be able to train in a new multipurpose center as early as Fall 2013.

“I look forward to it being done,” Adedipe said. “I think it’s going to enhance the quality of Ohio athletics, and I think that subsequently it will help our student involvement.”

Since receiving a lead gift of $8 million from Margaret and Robert Walter, the athletic department has gathered about $1.79 million. The projected cost of the facility is between $11 million and $11.5 million, so there’s still at least a $1.3 million void that will need to be filled before workers will be able to break ground behind Peden Stadium.

The athletic department sent thousands of mailings targeted at Bobcat Club members, former student-athletes and season ticket holders last fall, bringing in about $200,000.

A telemarketing campaign and a similar follow-up mailing are the current steps as Ohio Athletics continues to work toward its fundraising goals.

Along with its wide-sweeping efforts, the department is also concentrating on a handful of “big-ticket” donors. Director of Athletics Jim Schaus said that Ohio personnel will be taking trips to Florida and Texas during the next two weeks to meet with potential givers.

“Every time I walk in the office there’s more checks in the drawer,” Schaus said. “And they add up. A $1,000 check adds up in time.”

While exploring the last of its pledge opportunities, Ohio will hire an architect to provide a more concrete representation of the facility’s true cost.

The athletic department has insisted that the facility will not be solely for varsity athletic use, but will be a campus and community staple for involvement.

“I feel like as long as whoever is in charge does a good job accommodating both (students and student-athletes) I think it’s reasonable,” Adedipe said. “I believe they will do what they say they’re going to do.”

Ohio Student Senate President Kyle Triplett echoed Adedipe’s sentiment.

“I can certainly see the argument for questioning aspects of it,” Triplett said. “But I think while Athletics is really involved for the funding of this project and stuff, I do believe that it will be used by a number of different groups on campus.”

Ohio Athletics initially planned on wrapping up its fundraising campaign before the end of March but has decided to continue seeking gifts until its resources are fully exhausted. Schaus said that could extend well into April.

The sooner the funds are finalized and Ohio can enter the bidding process, the earlier the yearlong construction phase can begin.
Schaus likened the process to car shopping, saying that it’s best to gather the resources necessary to get what you really want so you don’t have buyer’s remorse when you hop into the driver’s seat.

“I think the entire campus, once this building is in place, will think, ‘Why didn’t we have something like this before?’ ” he said.

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