Hendrix College broke ground on May 6 on a 100,000-square foot Wellness and Athletics Center that is expected to open in 2007.
Total cost for the new center and for surrounding playing fields will be approximately $18 million. New fields for competitive and intramural sports will be built for sports including baseball, softball, track and field, soccer, tennis, lacrosse and field hockey.
Hendrix President J. Timothy Cloyd detailed the plans at a groundbreaking ceremony on the site of the future Wellness and Athletics Center, which is on the north corner of Harkrider and Siebenmorgen streets.
The center and the athletic fields will span the length of Siebenmorgen from Harkrider almost to I-40. Kirchner Architecture of Little Rock is project architect, and SportsPLAN Studio of Kansas City, Mo., is facility designer.
“The focus of all fitness and athletic programs at Hendrix, as well as other liberal arts colleges, is to cultivate the student as a whole person,” said Cloyd. “This state-of-the-art center will offer students and the campus community more space and better facilities for their total development.”
Cloyd said he is grateful to those who have already provided financial support for the Wellness and Athletics Center, including the Mabee Foundation which issued a $2 million challenge grant last November for the project.
Hendrix Board of Trustees Chair R. Madison Murphy ’80 said the center is an investment in the future for the college. “Hendrix has already claimed a national leadership position in higher education, and the new Wellness and Athletics Center marks a further commitment by the college to enhancing the value of academics and campus life for our students.”
The Wellness and Athletics Center will include a competition gymnasium for basketball and volleyball; a recreational gymnasium with two full courts for intramural programs; an aquatic center for competitive and recreational swimming and diving; a fitness center; an exercise studio; a kinesiology lab and classrooms; a rock-climbing wall; locker rooms, and staff offices.
The center will be built on the property currently occupied by the soccer field, which is being relocated east of the center off Siebenmorgen Street. Construction of the soccer field has begun and will be completed in time for this fall’s soccer season.
The Wellness and Athletics Center, which will replace Grove Gymnasium built in 1961 when student enrollment was about half of what it is today, will be positioned facing the campus on the center line to Hendrix’s main campus entrance on Harkrider Street. The property site for the center will need to be raised about six feet to align with the campus entrance.
The college currently has 17 athletic teams that include men’s and women’s programs. More than 20 percent of Hendrix students participate in non-scholarship NCAA Division III sports, and more than 60 percent of the students participate in one or more intramural sports programs.