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Future of ALLWell North

By Emmett Warren
On May 12, 2014

  • The lovely ladies working the new Commons Cafe in the Lamson Learning Commons - tall double latte with skim or regular milk?. Caitlin Higgins

The depleting status of Plymouth State University athletics facilities has found its resolution. On Mon. May 5, President Sara Jayne Steen, along with Vice President for Finance and Administration Steve Taksar, and Vice President for Academic Affairs Julie Bernier met with students and faculty to discuss the exciting future of the university's athletic facilities.

For the past two years, university administration has been working on creating brand new athletic facilities. According to President Steen, the "detailed planning process" began as early as 2010, with the Savage Welcome Center & Ice Arena marking the first phase of the process. "The current facilities are not at all adequate," said President Steen. "It was very clear that if we needed to wait for the state of New Hampshire to fully fund buildings none of this was going to go forward."

For several years the university's athletic buildings have dealt with lack of office space, unsuitable locker rooms, and underdeveloped facilities. Locker rooms have been a particular cause for concern as visiting teams are sometimes forced to change in the wide-open space of the Field House. "It's not only embarrassing, but it's also not very functional," said Vice President Taksar.

With these concerns in mind, development began for the Active Living, Learning, and Wellness (ALLWell) Center. Accounting for 25 percent of the total project, ALLWell North will replace part of the current Physical Education Center, which has not seen a major update since its construction in 1968. "Our PE center is a 45-year-old building that's in need of significant repair," said Taksar. "The cost to repair outstrips the cost of building new." 

The school has also been without a track and field team since its establishment in 1871. With ALLWell North, there will not only be a regulation-sized track, but individual rooms separated by clear, soundproof walls. The new facilities will be open to both the public, as well as incoming students. "This is incredibly important for our future in terms of enrollment, student recruitment and retention, and additional academic program growth," said Steen.

The operations are projected to cost a total of nearly $32 million dollars, which administration is confident will be paid off by the influx of students, as well as the creation of jobs. "The new facilities will open up several opportunities for assistant coaches, referees, and fitness trainers," said Taskar. By increasing jobs and fiscal exchange, administration believes the University will significantly improve the economy of the region.

In addition to jobs, the University is looking to add several new courses. "We're looking at increases in the quantity and quality of student applicants," said Vice President Bernier. "Uniting the Department of Health and Human Performance (HHP) and Athletics Department, we will be strengthening the connection between classroom learning and hands-on experiences for students." 

When asked if the rise in undergraduate population would mean a lower tuition, President Steen said, "right now we have several expenses to cover, and we rely heavily on student tuition to cover those expenses. The goal is that in the future we will be able to rely less on tuition to cover those expenses as employment and population continue to grow."

ALLWell North is projected to be completed by the Fall 2015, with the rest of the project set to be completed by the following year. Students interested in learning more about the project can contact Senior Administrative Assistant Barbara Adams at 535-2212, or bjadams2@plymouth.edu.


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