Wittenberg Athletic Facilities To Get Multi-Million Dollar Spring Makeover

Edwards-Maurer Field and the Earl F. Morris Track will be all new by the start of the 2005-06 school year.

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Wittenberg University has a long history of athletic success and commitment to campus health and well-being. The tradition continues today with the announcement that more than $2 million worth of improvements to the university’s athletic complex will be made this year.

The centerpiece of the 2005 athletic facilities improvement project is the $750,000 Bob Rosencrans Hall of Honor Fitness Center to be built onto the existing HPER Center. New strength training and cardiovascular exercise equipment will also be purchased for both the new fitness center and the existing facility, the Earl F. Morris Track will be re-surfaced, Edwards-Maurer Field will get a new synthetic grass surface and the lobby of the HPER Center will receive a variety of aesthetic improvements. The Wittenberg University Board of Directors approved the project at its Jan. 20 meeting on campus.

“We are making a significant commitment for new equipment and facilities to support the needs of the general student, faculty and staff population at Wittenberg, as well as making the appropriate improvements to the strength and fitness needs of the university’s varsity athletes,” said Darrell Kitchen, vice president of business and finance.

The Bob Rosencrans Hall of Honor Fitness Center will add 4,622 square feet of space to the front of the building, which will be filled with state-of-the-art fitness equipment available for use by anyone in the Wittenberg community. In addition, the university’s three certified athletic trainers will gain much-needed space for examinations and rehabilitation work, including an ice machine and a whirlpool tub, in the new fitness center.

The lobby of the HPER Center will be brightened considerably with new lighting, fresh paint, trophy cases and a new “Wall of Honor,” which will include plaques for each of the 147 inductees in the Wittenberg University Athletic Hall of Honor in an attractive display just outside of the fitness center. Rosencrans, a 1958 graduate of Wittenberg and a three-year letterwinner on the football team, enjoyed a career as an assistant football coach, head golf coach and athletic director at Wittenberg from 1970-95. He was also a member of the Athletic Hall of Honor Class of 2000.

Rosencrans passed away in 2003 after suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He became an advocate for ALS research, and his friends and family helped him organize “Rosy’s Golf Outing,” an annual fund-raiser for ALS research. The first outing took place exactly two months prior to his passing and raised $37,000.

“This is an honor to me and my family,” said Sharon Rosencrans, Bob’s widow. “This is something that our family will always have as a connection to Wittenberg.”

Artist's rendering of the future Bob Rosencrans Hall of Honor Fitness Center

In addition to an estimated $370,000 worth of new equipment in both the old and new fitness areas, the existing facility will get new floor surfaces, wall treatments and other aesthetic improvements. The Bob Rosencrans Hall of Honor Fitness Center, which will be built by Thomas & Marker Construction of Bellefontaine with architectural services provided by Beasley Architect and Design of Bellefontaine, will have numerous added amenities, including video capabilities.

Construction on the center will begin as soon as all of the necessary permits have been obtained from the City of Springfield, according to Kitchen. That hopefully means groundbreaking by the end of February in order to have all construction completed by Aug. 1, 2005, in time for the start of the 2005-06 school year.

Renovations to the Earl F. Morris Track and Edwards-Maurer Field, which will also include improvements to the Hoyt-Sullivan Pressbox and the staircase on the north end of the field, will commence as soon as the 2005 spring sports seasons conclude in early May.

The track will be a Recotan Track surface, replacing the surface put down in 1993 as part of the Bill Edwards Drive Project. The services of DeFargo Sports Surfaces of Round Rock, Texas, have been retained to complete that part of the project.

Edwards-Maurer Field, home to the football, field hockey, men’s lacrosse and women’s lacrosse teams, will be re-surfaced with 2 1/4 inch blades of artificial grass with granular sand and rubber in-fill. Kiefer Specialty Flooring of Lake Villa, Ill., has been selected to do that work. The Tiger men’s and women’s soccer teams are also planning to call the field home in 2005 thanks to the renovations, in addition to regular use by the cricket club team, intramural athletic activities and occasional community events, including high school football and lacrosse games.

“This project will greatly enhance our efforts to continue recruiting top-notch student-athletes,” said Garnett Purnell, director of athletics and recreation. “These high-quality athletic facilities will serve both our varsity athletes and our general student population extremely well for many years to come.”

Ken Benne, Wittenberg Class of 1968 and associate director of advancement and alumni relations, is spearheading the fund-raising effort on behalf of the university’s office of advancement. To make a contribution or to learn more about the fund-raising effort, contact Benne at (937) 327-6366 or via e-mail at kbenne@wittenberg.edu.