The University of Delaware is starting a major upgrade to its athletic complex.
A $60 million fundraising initiative for athletics at UD is focused on improvements to Delaware Stadium and building a new facility for student-athletes.
Renovations to the stadium include upgrades to seating, bathrooms, concessions and the press box— plus a new “club space” with a bar and “exclusive” seating.
The new Whitney Athletic Center is being billed as a “one-stop shop” for student athletes, with training spaces as well as academic and wellness resources.
“By integrating athletic facilities and academic help, the Whitney Athletic center will facilitate easier transitions from school to sports, giving us more time to focus on both,” said field hockey player Emily Kresho, who spoke at Tuesday’s groundbreaking.
The athletic complex is somewhat removed from the rest of campus and UD Athletics Director Christine Rawak says the new facility should make life easier for student-athletes.
“They are coming down here to train, going back up there to study, coming back down here to lift, going back up there to study, and so to be able to create a space for them to have all those experiences again under one umbrella … we’ve actually studied it, it will probably save theme two hours a day,” she said.
Rawak adds that the model is rare among collegiate athletic facilities. “I would say based on the benchmarking we’ve done, this kind of facility that integrates all of it is second to none,” she said.
Rawak admits that providing everything student-athletes need at the athletic complex could make them more segmented off from the rest of the student body.
“You can imagine that that could be possible, and we’re going to have to be very clear and specific and intentional in not allowing that to happen,” she said. She says she thinks “student engagement” efforts on campus are one solution.
The Whitney Athletic Center is expected to be completed by summer of 2020.
The Center will be named for Kenneth and Elizabeth Whitney, who donated $10 million to the project.