College steps into $7M athletic building
A college is preparing to unveil the roughly $7-million athletic building it began constructing last fall.
Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a Catholic liberal arts school, will officially host a dedication ceremony for its Alksnis Athletics & Recreation Building next Thursday, at 10:30 a.m., at 1580 Fulton St. E.
Versatile athletic space
The 70,000-square-foot building will create needed space for the school’s growing athletic program.
The building is the second phase of the school’s $14-million athletic complex on campus, which includes the Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center, completed in 2010.
The Alksnis Athletics & Recreation Building features indoor practice space for a variety of sports: an NCAA-certified 200-meter track, infield turf and portable wooden courts.
Terry Bocian, athletic director at Aquinas, said the Alksnis Athletics & Recreation Building is a versatile space for the department.
“The athletic program has grown to the point where we have over 450 student athletes in the athletic program, 25 sports and of course, we have recreational needs for intramurals,” Bocian said. “We attempted to put together a facility that would encompass many, just about all, of our programs. It will be primarily a practice facility. However, we will host intercollegiate indoor track meets, and we will host some high school meets, as well for some schools in the community.”
Bocian said the building is quite an impressive yet functional facility now that it's complete.
“There is a real wow factor to the building,” Bocian said. “I don’t think people initially realized the size of the building that would encompass a 200-meter track. That distance drove the specs for the entire building. It is quite large.”
The building was named after the project’s lead donor, Greg Alksnis, and his family, who contributed $1.5 million to the construction of the modern facility.
Alksnis is an Aquinas graduate, trustee emeritus and 2006 Athletic Hall of Fame inductee for his distinguished athletic career on the golf team.
The ceremony next week will include a ceremonial passing of the baton around the indoor track with past, present and future runners.
The event will also include a number of speakers: Juan Olivarez, president at Aquinas; Bocian, athletic director; Paula Meehan, VP of enrollment and strategic planning; Bishop David Walkowiak; and Alksnis.
“We are very excited about this. We are very grateful that is has finally come to pass,” Bocian said. “It is also located right on Fulton Avenue, and I think it kind of makes a statement that says, ‘You know what, here is Aquinas College.’”