August 25, 2014
Not only is today the first day of school for Ohio University students, it also marked the dedication day for OHIO’s newest facility: Walter Fieldhouse.
Hundreds of students, alumni and donors, faculty and staff gathered on the Fieldhouse’s full-size indoor football field to dedicate the 89,000 square-foot facility. Cutting the ribbon were lead donors Robert D. and Margaret “Peggy” M. Walter and Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis.
“This is a great day for Ohio University,” McDavis said. “We began dreaming of this type of facility, and how it would transform the student experience, a long time ago. It is an honor to dedicate Walter Fieldhouse, standing among many of the donors who made it possible and many of the students who will put it to use. I’m personally grateful to all of the donors who provided gifts to help us build this magnificent facility.”
All told, 475 donors made gifts and pledges totaling more than $11.15 million. Alumni donors are graduates from across all 10 of OHIO’s academic colleges and represent the classes of 1942 through 2010. Current students and their parents, faculty and staff, corporations and organizations and other OHIO friends also made contributions.
“Under the leadership of Campus Recreation in the Division of Student Affairs, Walter Fieldhouse will provide OHIO’s students, as well as the Athens community, with opportunities for large-scale indoor events that previously would have been impossible,” Vice President for Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi said. “We’re indebted to every donor to the project, as well as to the University’s trustees, for their vision and their investment is this great campus resource.”
Construction on the $13 million facility began in April 2013. Much of the funding for the project was provided by an $8 million commitment from the Walters and the Walter Family Foundation in December 2010. The Walters are 1967 graduates - Robert Walter with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering and Peggy Walter with a bachelor of fine arts.
“Peggy and I find it gratifying to support our alma mater in this way and to inspire others to do the same,” said Robert Walter. “The Walter Fieldhouse will support classroom instruction, recreational activities, athletic practices and other special events. The Army ROTC, the Marching 110, Campus Recreation and others will make great use of this facility, which accommodates multiple and simultaneous activities as well as large-scale indoor events. Co-curricular activities are an important outlet for students and community members alike, and we are happy to be a part of establishing a space for these types of activities.”
The Fieldhouse is located next to the Ping Student Recreation Center. Since Ping opened in 1996, Athens Campus enrollment has increased nearly 16 percent to more than 22,650 students. Together, these two facilities will provide a hub for academic, recreational and fitness opportunities.
In addition to the football field, Walter Fieldhouse includes a four-lane practice track and netting, along with a practice and training area for all of OHIO’s outdoor varsity sports: baseball, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, soccer, softball and track and field.
“This facility is transforming the future of OHIO Athletics and our entire campus,” Athletic Director Jim Schaus said. “For our varsity sports, it will provide the practice and training facilities that will help us compete and recruit nationally and at the highest level within the Mid-American Conference. Every donor to Walter Fieldhouse can feel good that his or her investment will have a significant impact on the future of OHIO Athletics and students throughout our campus. I can’t thank them enough for their generosity.”
Gifts in support of Walter Fieldhouse are part of The Promise Lives Campaign, which surpassed its $450 million goal in April 2014, 14 months ahead of the June 30, 2015, deadline. Already securing more than $465 million, the Campaign continues to raise funds in support of OHIO’s students, faculty, programs, partnerships and select facilities.
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