Ripon College ready to break ground on new athletic and wellness facility

Ripon College will host a ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday, April 21, at 11 a.m. on a multi-million project to renovate and expand the J.M. Storzer Center athletic, health and wellness facilities. The target completion date for the project is fall of 2017 and it is expected to cost around $20 million.

“We are thrilled to put shovels into the ground so that our students and community will soon be able to enjoy this state of the art center,” said Zach Messitte, president of Ripon College. “Ripon — the College and community — is committed to healthy living, exercise and the spirit of competition and with this building we will soon have one of the premier facilities in the state.”

The groundbreaking ceremony will be held in front of the J.M. Storzer Center. Participating dignitaries include Zach Messitte, president of Ripon College; Gary Will, mayor of Ripon; Stan Gruszynski, state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development division; State Representatives, and several members of the Ripon area business community. In October 2015, the College was awarded a $14.3-million long-term low-interest loan from the USDA Rural Development division to move forward with the project. Early leadership fundraising efforts for the project have surpassed $7 million as part of the Revitalize campaign.

Ripon College is working with architectural firm Kahler Slater of Milwaukee and The Boldt Company of Appleton.

Work will be done in three phases. The first phase, a 65,000-square-foot field house, will begin in May. This will include an NCAA-compliant 200-meter track with 42-inch running lanes and space for field events — pole vault, high jump, long jump and throwing events. It also includes four performance courts in the middle field for basketball, volleyball and tennis.

The second phase, a 23,250-square-foot north addition and atrium, will commence in July 2016. This will include classrooms, flexible seating, a health food café and concessions, expanded cardio and weight training spaces, reception area and offices.

The final phase will include interior renovations of the main and practice gymnasiums, locker rooms and offices, including an expanded second level with fitness studio, cardio and meditative arts spaces.

The facility will accommodate all students, faculty and staff for competitive or personal health and wellness, and also will be open to community memberships with expanded hours of operation.

The project is being financed using a mix of public and private loans and philanthropy. Revitalize: The Campaign for Health and Wellness at Ripon College is continuing to secure gifts toward the financing.

For more information, visit ripon.edu/revitalize.


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