OMAHA, Neb. (KCAU) – College of Saint Mary (CSM) has approved the construction of its new state-of-the-art $18 million athletic facility.
The new facility will provide its students and the greater Omaha area with a place for women to excel and grow through athletics.
The construction is set to begin in March with a formal groundbreaking ceremony and completed by the fall of 2021.
CSM has partnered with DLR Group, The Weitz Company, and Project Advocates for construction management services.
“This wouldn’t be possible without the support of our generous donors,” said Dr. Maryanne Stevens, RSM, President of College of Saint Mary. “They recognize the importance of this new center for College of Saint Mary students, but even more so for the community at large.”
The new facility plans to be more than 82,000 square feet and located on the CSM’s northeast of campus at the corner of Pine Street and Aksarben Drive, marking a major addition to the West Aksarben Village landscape.
It plans to be attached to the Lied Fitness Center, the CSM’s Wellness & Athletic Center (WAC) will expand access to year-round training, recreation, and performance spaces for students, athletes, and the surrounding community.
The new state-of-the-art facility was created to be a center for women’s athletics in the heart of Omaha.
“We really want to claim the space for women’s athletics in the region,” adds President Stevens. “Evidence is overwhelming that athletic participation and physical activity play critical roles in the health, wellbeing, and success of women. This is a major investment in line with our commitment to call forth potential and foster leadership.”
It will feature a competition quality track capable of hosting collegiate level-indoor track and field events, three basketball/volleyball courts, indoor batting tunnels, a golf simulator, new fitness areas and cardio equipment, modern locker rooms, meeting space, and more.
“We believe women who compete today will succeed tomorrow,” said Rick Jeffries, a member of the College of Saint Mary’s board of directors. “Through every type of athletics – from group yoga to nationally-ranked volleyball, our facilities will offer women the chance to become the resilient, healthy, and disciplined leaders they are destined to be.”
The facility will also include a Human Performace Lab, enabling faculty and students to engage in hands-on research.
It will also create a permanent home for the in-person portion of CSM’s new blended Doctorate of Physical Therapy program that they plan on launching in June.
“I’m excited – I think we all are,” said Makenna Freeman, a sophomore biology student and member of the Flames Volleyball Team. “It’s a huge step for our athletic programs and just for the college in general. I think we’re all looking forward to training and performing in this new space!”
In recent years, they have built partnerships between the Flames Athletic Department and young women throughout Omaha.
The college is also creating relationships with Omaha Public Schools, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands, Girls Inc., FitGirl Inc., and other youth-focused organizations, to inspire girls to pursue higher education through athletic involvement.
CSM Athletic Director, Peter Haze Haring, said the new fitness center will act as a springboard to new relationships and programs that can benefit the Omaha sports world.
“We’ve seen tremendous success in partnering with the Omaha community,” said Haring. “This new facility will only augment those relationships and bring forth new opportunities to strengthen female athletics in the region.”
In 2018, CSM worked with several other key leaders in the community to form the Ironhawk Juniors Triathlon, an annual event that welcomes over 200 girls from across Omaha to participate in a modified triathlon race on CSM’s campus.
“This is just one example of a program that will benefit from the new Wellness and Athletic Center – one that helps build self-esteem, encourages perseverance and empowers young girls through sport,” said Jamie Adams, assistant athletic director and one of the leaders in CSM’s Ironhawk partnership.
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