Athletics: UNH announces new Athlete Center for Excellence for Fall 2014

By Max Sullivan
On May 5, 2014

The University of New Hampshire announced that it will have a brand new $1.9 million Student-Athlete Center for Excellence at the Field House for Division I and Northeast Passage athletes. Construction on the addition begins this summer, and the athletic department said in a press release that it is expected to be completed and open by fall of 2014. 

Currently, the field house features a study area in the second floor, next to the football offices, but is cramped and uncomfortable, it's not appealing to the hundreds athletes that spend their days in the building.

"The study room we have in the field house now is really hot and way too small to do any good work," track athlete Lauren Perrodin said. "I feel like the library's going to be a really good step."

"We've always had great academic support staff, but the facility - a tiny dark room in the basement  ­ - was not supportive of our goal to graduate every student athlete," Heather Barber, associate professor of kinesiology and the university's NCAA faculty athletic representative, said in the press release April 29. "We want our student-athletes to achieve as much academically as they do athletically, and having all of the services in one area will be a huge benefit for these young people. At UNH we take pride in the fact that our students excel in balancing their academic pursuits with their athletic ambitions."

According to Mike Murphy, the athletics communications director, having a quality study area for the school's student athletes is important to the department's plan. The hope is to make the field house a place where athletes, who often don't have time to go to places like Dimond Library because of practice schedules, can have many of their academic needs met and making their time there comfortable and less stressful.

"This was a major priority in the department's strategic plan," Murphy said. "Student athletics spend so much time in the Field House. If they have a practice coming up, they can't always go elsewhere to study, and they have to come right back. It gives them a chance to get some homework done, work together in groups, work with networking or with tutors here at the Field House where they spend so much of their time."

The new academic center will feature complete wireless Internet capability and will be designed with the Dimond Library's reading rooms in mind. Advisors and tutors will be available for assistance. The center will also include a functional resource room, breakout rooms and team/group meeting space. The main reading room will fit up to 72 

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