March 16, 2010
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CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati today broke ground on its $15.5 million Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex, announcing September 2010 as the completion date for the first phase of the project. The state-of-the-art training facility will serve as practice space for the university’s football team and other varsity sports programs, in addition to the competitive home of the UC women’s lacrosse team.
During a groundbreaking ceremony, UC President Gregory H. Williams expressed that while the first phase of construction is exciting, it doesn’t tell the whole story. “The Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex is yet another example of how private support transforms student lives, the UC campus and the community at large,” he said.
“The first phase of this project is well under way. The second phase of construction requires an additional $4.2 million in funding, and we are nearly halfway to that goal,” Williams added. “I must emphasize that ongoing private support for this effort is truly essential.”
The first phase of construction includes two lighted fields, one 100 yards in length and the other 50 yards. The 100-yard field will also become a seasonal indoor practice facility during winter months via an air-supported "bubble" that will be inflated over the field. The bubble, which will be erected from late November to late February, will maintain an interior ambient temperature between 50-60 degrees.
The second phase of the construction process will include the addition of bleacher seating, a press box, a scoreboard, a concession stand, a video/viewing tower, locker/team rooms, a training/taping room, restrooms and a plaza to connect the practice facilities with UC’s Varsity Village. The university is actively seeking funds to support the completion of the second phase, which pending additional funding, will begin in the spring of 2011.
Director of Athletics, Mike Thomas, noted that the Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex represents much more than a place for student athletes to train. The facility will help the University of Cincinnati recruit the talent necessary to making UC Athletics a championship-caliber program in the Big East. Thomas referred to the complex as an “athletic classroom” suitable for helping the university’s athletes participate in the highest level of intercollegiate competition.
“The facility is a necessity for the university, but also an asset to the community,” said Thomas. “Just like Nippert Stadium, the Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex will be made available to high schools and other community organizations that don’t have a home field on which to practice or play.”
The complex will also help the university go green. A chilled water thermal storage tank will be installed under the shorter field to assist with the university’s air conditioning systems. The storage tank will help the university realize an ongoing annual energy savings in the range of $750,000 to $1 million.
Fundraising to support the Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex continues through the university’s Proudly Cincinnati campaign to raise $1 billion by 2013. Williams said the UC Class of 2010 has committed its senior class gift to the construction project. He stressed that gifts large and small combine to make a big difference.
“The senior class gift is made of many small donations, but the money has quickly added up,” he said. “The Class of 2010 understands the importance of giving back to UC to make future transformations possible.”
Those interested in donating to the fundraising effort can log on to www.UCats.net or www.ProudlyCincinnati.org, where they can view full plans for the Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex and make their donation.
INDIVIDUAL SPEAKERS: Chazz Anderson | Natalie Starvaggi
About the University of Cincinnati
Ranked by the National Science Foundation among the top 20 public research universities in the United States, UC's faculty have distinguished themselves worldwide for their creative teaching and research. The University of Cincinnati serves a diverse enrollment of more than 37,000.
About the University of Cincinnati Foundation
The University of Cincinnati Foundation is leading Proudly Cincinnati: Tower of Strength, Rock of Truth, the University’s most ambitious campaign in history, supporting the vision for UC to become the finest urban research university in the United States. Proudly Cincinnati’s goal is to raise $1 billion by 2013. To date, approximately $650 million has been raised for scholarships, innovative teaching and groundbreaking research. For more information about the Proudly Cincinnati campaign, visit www.proudlycincinnati.org.
About the University of Cincinnati Department of Athletics
University of Cincinnati offers 18 sports programs which compete in BIG EAST Conference. Since joining the league in 2005-06, the Bearcats have captured four league titles, including the back-to-back BIG EAST football titles in 2008 and 2009. The football championships earned the program consecutive appearances in the Bowl Championship Series, including a spot in the 2010 Allstate Sugar Bowl. Over the course of the program’s history, 233 student-athletes have garnered all-America or academic all-America honors, including the likes of college basketball’s Player of the Century Oscar Robertson, 2008 Olympic gold medalist Mary Wineberg (one of four in school history), 2007 World Series Champion Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox, and New Orleans Saints linebacker and Super Bowl XLIV Champion Troy Evans.