The new complex is part of a comprehensive plan for expanded student recreation, health and wellness. (Rendering courtesy of Samford University)
Samford University, a private college in the Birmingham, Ala., suburb of Homewood, announced that it will embark on the largest capital project in the school's history by building a new, $65 million recreation and athletic complex.
To do so, Samford will enlarge and renovate existing buildings to create a world-class campus center designed to provide students and employees with more opportunities to improve physical fitness and mental wellness as well as new spaces for campus events and student gatherings.
Added facilities will provide new practice and training spaces for the university's 17 Division I athletic teams.
Construction, which is scheduled to begin in early 2023, includes investments in four separate buildings totaling 154,000 sq. ft.:
- The current Seibert Hall will be completely redesigned to include two basketball courts, a new multi-use court, studios for fitness classes, an e-sports studio, dance studios, modern weight and cardio machines, a multi-purpose workout area, and commons areas for students to gather, with lounge space, a coffee house and a 24-hour convenience store.
- Bashinsky Field House also will be fully refurbished to become a dedicated facility for Samford student-athletes. It will have new training spaces for teams, and dedicated practice spaces for the men's and women's basketball and volleyball programs.
- A third building will be constructed next to Seibert Hall and encompass another 20,000 sq. ft. of recreation and event space. The new facility will have a suspended indoor track, additional basketball courts and cardio spaces, sound and staging to host campus events, a catering kitchen, a covered outdoor athletic space, a pedestrian walkway, and a covered balcony that overlooks Bobby Bowden Field, the college's football stadium.
- The first floor of the Dwight and Lucille Beeson Center, found directly across the street from the complex, also will be renovated to serve as the new home for the university's health center and counseling services.
Cumulatively, the quartet of new and enhanced buildings will not only enhance student wellness and life on campus, Samford officials said, but hopefully will help recruit and keep future students and student-athletes.
"This project represents a substantial investment in the health and wellness of our students," noted Samford President Beck A. Taylor. "We are committed to supporting our students in their educational and spiritual journeys, and we also want to support them in their physical and mental wellbeing. This new facility will enhance campus life and provide students with spaces to gather, exercise, socialize and participate in numerous recreational activities."
Taylor added that Samford students prefer to lead healthy lifestyles and the university is committed to provide them with the opportunities to do so.
"From physical fitness and recreation to counseling and health services, this facility will meet students' needs in mind, body and spirit," he explained.
Another $20 Million Needs to Be Raised
The university is funding $45 million of the project with current resources and is working to secure $20 million in philanthropic gifts.
Birmingham's Hoar Construction and Davis Architects have partnered with Samford to design and build the complex. If all goes to plan, the new campus center is expected to be completed prior to the start of the fall 2024 semester.
A leading Christian university, Samford offers undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, the school is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.
Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Its athletic teams compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and is third-ranked nationally for its graduation success rate among all NCAA Division I schools.
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