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Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey, USA, is bringing home its long-term initiative for an upgraded Kessler Field after the local Zoning Board voted for approval. The likely start of the $15 million project will be at the end of the 2016 football season, completing  in time for the 2017 season-opener against Lafayette.

Monmouth said in a statement that 70 percent of the private funds raised for the $15 million project have been secured. The University is seeking the remaining funds and other necessary approvals and building permits before embarking on construction of new bowl with 4,200 seats (capacity up from 3,100).

Monmouth University President Paul R. Brown said.

Beyond the obvious benefit to our current and future student-athletes, the Monmouth Stadium will offer an enhanced fan experience for alumni and friends in the community, as well as a boost to the local economy that will come along with the opportunities to host regional and national competitions, in addition to league play.

Marilyn McNeil, Vice president and Director of Sthletics, said:

Our student-athletes have enjoyed continued success and national recognition. The Monmouth Stadium will be a showcase for that success and a training ground for what we hope to accomplish in the future.

Marquette University has released the preliminary design concepts of its planned world-class athletic performance research centre, which is part of a strategic partnership with the Milwaukee Bucks. The facility, which was first announced by MU President, Michael R. Lovell, in his Presidential Address in January, will support elite-level intercollegiate and professional athletics, academic research, and campus health and wellness initiatives.

President Lovell emphasised that the preliminary design concepts may change in scale, appearance and function as the university continues to define the scope of the project. In the coming months, the university will focus on developing more refined design concepts for the facility that complement the character of the existing campus and respect the urban context.

University leaders will work over the next several months to define the budget, scope and project timeline. The centre will be built on land the university recently acquired in the 800 block of West Michigan Street and funded through a combination of philanthropic gifts, corporate partnerships and research grants.

MU President, Lovell, said:

We have committed to doubling our research in the next five years and we aspire for the Center to become a destination where renowned scientists, athletic trainers and elite athletes will come together. This project is a great example of how carrying out Marquette’s educational mission can play a significant role in spurring economic development, and we believe it will transform an important corridor in our city.

The centre will provide locker rooms and office space for several athletic programs and combine indoor playing fields for Marquette’s lacrosse and soccer programs. It will also feature an indoor track and a world-class athletic performance research facility.

Image courtesy: CannonDesign

 

Georgetown University announces formal groundbreaking ceremony for Thompson Athletics Center

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Georgetown University has announced that it is scheduled to move forward with the construction of the John R. Thompson Jr. Intercollegiate Athletics Center. 

 

The University’s Board of Directors has approved the next phase of the project and site work construction is scheduled to begin the first week in August.

 

A formal groundbreaking ceremony for the Thompson Athletics Center, named in honour of the Hall of Fame Men’s Basketball Coach who guided the Hoyas for 27 years and led the program to the 1984 NCAA Championship, will be held on site on Friday, September 12, 2014.

 

The Thompson Athletics Center, a major priority of Georgetown’s US$1.5bn “For Generations to Come” fundraising campaign,  is expected to be completed in August 2016. The US$62m project will be completely supported through philanthropy.

 

Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Lee Reed, said:

The start of construction on the Thompson Athletics Center is a watershed moment for Georgetown Athletics as well as our University and alumni community. This is the culmination of a plan that is intended to substantively improve the experiences of every Georgetown student-athlete, coach and staff member. We are grateful to our entire community for their support of this initiative and I expect that this will serve as a catalyst to carry our department forward for generations to come.

 

The four-storey, 144,000sqft building will be constructed adjacent to McDonough Arena. Facilities will include: practice courts, locker rooms, team meeting rooms, lounge areas, coaches’ offices for men’s and women’s basketball, locker rooms for four additional varsity sports, weight-training and sports medicine rooms for all varsity athletes, the Student-Athlete Academic and Leadership Center, an auditorium and team meeting facilities for all varsity programs, as well as a new venue for the Georgetown Athletics Hall of Fame.

 

John Thompson Jr.’s name is synonymous with success. From 1972 to 1999, he compiled 596 wins, the most of any coach in the history of Georgetown University and the magnitude of his achievements is undeniable. On the court, he amassed league-leading records against all BIG EAST Conference opponents (233-122) and captured 13 BIG EAST Championships, seven regular season titles and six tournament championships. Thompson’s Hoya teams earned 24-consecutive invitations to postseason play, appeared in three NCAA Final Fours (1982, 1984 and 1985) and won the NCAA Championship in 1984. Off the court, he inspired his players to pursue their degrees and Thompson ended his tenure with a 97% graduation rate, while 26 of his players were drafted by the National Basketball Association, including eight in the first round.

 

A member of the National Basketball Hall of Fame, Thompson was named Coach of the Year a total of seven times. The BIG EAST honoured him with the award following the 1979-80, 1986-87 and 1991-92 seasons. After leading the Hoyas to the National Championship in 1984 he received the title from The United States Basketball Writers Association and The Sporting News. Following back-to-back trips to the National Championship game in 1985, he was honoured by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. He even garnered the award on a global scale when United Press International honoured him following the 1986-87 seasons.

 

More information on the John R. Thompson Jr. Intercollegiate Athletics Center can be found online at: http://campaign.georgetown.edu/iac.html

Sheffield athletics finds new stadium home

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Sheffield Hallam University has signed an agreement with Sheffield City Council which gives the sport a new home at the city’s Woodbourn Road stadium. The newly-refurbished stadium will be renamed Sheffield Hallam University City Athletics Stadium and will be used by elite athletes – including Jess Ennis-Hill – and the City of Sheffield Athletics Club and Hallamshire Harriers. The University’s students will also train at the site and it will be open to community groups, with all community and school athletics events formerly based at Don Valley Stadium transferring to Sheffield Hallam’s stadium.

As part of the agreement, the Council has worked to bring the facilities up to the high standard needed to deliver a first class home for athletics. The work, with a value of around £325,000, includes new floodlights, stadium seating, improvements to the track, renovation of the grass infield and repairs to fencing and gates. The Council provided £150,000 towards the improvements, with the same amount provided by Sport England and the balance from England Athletics. Mark Swales, Director of estates and facilities at the University, said:

Sheffield Hallam University City Athletics Stadium is part of our investment in sports provision for our students. Along with our sport campus at the English Institute of Sport and the new sports park at Bawtry Road, we’re making sure that our students have access to the sport facilities they need. We are planning for students from a wide range of courses to become involved in organising and managing larger sporting events in 2014 at the ground.

The University is also working with Sheffield International Venues on an athletics membership scheme, which will allow the public to use the stadium and the English Institute of Sport. A range of athletics events are already booked for 2014, including a full schools programme.

Cllr Isobel Bowler, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure said:

The partnership with Sheffield Hallam University is a superb opportunity to guarantee a lasting legacy for athletics here in Sheffield and the Council has also brought together a wider partnership of the University, SIV, the clubs, Sport England and England Athletics. I would like to thank City of Sheffield AC and Hallamshire Harriers for their support and in particular I want to thank Mike Corden, chair of Sheffield AC who has worked closely with the Council for many months in steering this project to completion.

Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium continues to deliver after half century

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Luzhniki stadium successfully hosted the World Athletics Championships ahead of its proposed renovation for the 2018 football World Cup. The stadium received plaudits for its organisation and atmosphere, even though there were not always full houses for the daytime sessions. The field, tracks and jumping areas at the 84,745-capacity stadium were renewed for the Champs.

Moscow’s chief architect Sergei Kuznetsov told AFP:

The arena, which is also a historic monument, will not be demolished. But it’s also impossible to leave it as it is because it doesn’t fit the strict FIFA demands for World Cup venues. But the outward appearance of the venue will not be seriously changed, to keep this historic memory of the nation alive.

Officially opened on 31 July 1956, the last major renovation was in 1995, when its stands were equipped with individual plastic seats and a roof added.

The stadium’s Deputy General Director, Boris Megrelidze said:

The renovation of the arena will begin right after the end of the athletics championships. We’re planning the capacity of around 88,000 seats after the reconstruction. It’s the FIFA demand and we shall adhere to it unconditionally.

During the IAAF World Championships Aggreko continued its record of supplying power to major sporting events. Ensuring reliable systems to power the broadcast facilities was a major consideration for both the organisers and the broadcast services provider, Eurovision Production Coordination (EPC).

Aggreko powered all aspects of the international television broadcast facilities within the stadium including the field of play camera positions, time keeping, television studios and commentary boxes. Outside of the stadium, the system also powered the television compound and the International Broadcast Centre (IBC). The installation consisted of 6 MW of power generation connected throughout the Luzhniki stadium via a network of 250 distribution panels and 20 kilometres of cable.

David de Behr, Head of Events Services, Aggreko EMEA, said:

I am very excited that Aggreko’s extensive expertise, knowledge and experience in supporting the world’s major sporting and cultural events is now available to the Russian events market.

Sheffield’s Woodburn Road athletics venue to be managed by Hallam University

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Woodburn will reopen after a £300,000 revamp to replace Don Valley Stadium which closes in September. Sheffield Council has offered a long-term lease which will guarantee access for the community and athletics clubs.

Mark Swales, Director of estates and facilities at Sheffield Hallam University (pictured), said:

The site will enable us to offer our students opportunities to gain hands on experience to complement their academic learning. This includes sport students, but there may also be valuable experience to be gained in areas such as physiotherapy, coaching, events, hospitality and business.

We will be working closely with the council, the city of Sheffield Athletics Club and other key stakeholders in the city to continue and build on the excellent athletics provision we have in Sheffield.

Councillor Isobel Bowler, Sheffield Council cabinet member for culture, sport and leisure, said:

The partnership with Sheffield Hallam presents a superb opportunity to guarantee a lasting legacy for athletics in the city. The council never wanted to close Don Valley Stadium, but we said from the start that we were determined to find a positive outcome for athletics and to work with the clubs to make it happen.