Springfield, Ohio –Wittenberg University officially broke ground today on its nearly $40 million Health, Wellness and Athletics (HWA) Complex. The groundbreaking ceremony took place at 2 p.m. behind the current Health Physical Education and Recreation Center.
Speakers during the event included Dick Helton, interim Wittenberg president; Wendy Kobler, vice president of advancement; Mike McDorman, president and CEO of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce; Mike Frandsen, incoming Wittenberg president; Wes Bates, Board of Directors member and a 1970 alumnus; Jim Henson, vice chair of Wittenberg’s Board and a 1975 alumnus; Senator Bob Hackett (R-Ohio); and Loren Buelow, class of 2019.
The new HWA facility will touch the lives of current students, staff and faculty, as well as the greater Springfield community.
“In the spirit of those who founded this university, this building physically and symbolically emphasizes the meaning of our work here: to holistically develop the next generation of leaders who, by their example, will make an impact on our world,” said Wittenberg Director of Athletics and Recreation Gary Williams. “This project also has the capacity to touch the lives of everyone associated with Wittenberg and the greater Springfield and Clark County community.”
In addition to restoring the 1929 field house and the 1982 HPER Center, the university’s plan includes the construction of a new 125,000-square-foot indoor athletics facility attached to the north end of the HPER Center. The updated facilities will help with student recruitment and retention, and allow the university to attract more regional and national events. Wittenberg has about 1,800 students and more than 350 employees.
“Most of the funds raised for the new Health, Wellness and Athletics facility have come through donations from our generous alumni and friends, led by Wes and Ann Bates, both members of Wittenberg’s Class of 1970, who donated a $10 million matching gift,” Kobler said.
Wittenberg has also been awarded $3.9 million in federal historic tax incentives from the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program administered by the National Park Service, and $5 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits from the Ohio Development Services Agency. The final amount of tax credits is expected to be even higher. The HWA project is expected to take at least 18 months to complete.
“This is a defining day for Wittenberg and our hometown of Springfield,” Helton said. “We are excited about what this facility will mean to our students, faculty, staff and our community, and we look forward to our shared future.”
For more information about Wittenberg’s Health, Wellness and Athletics Complex, its impact on the community, and how to make a donation, go to www.wittenberg.edu/hwa.