In the past few weeks, I have heard very disturbing comments about the new indoor multipurpose facility. I think some people just don’t understand what a necessity this facility will provide for many of our athletic programs here at Eastern Michigan University.
Now I want to be clear, this facility is not just for the football team. It will provide a great service to our teams by allowing them to practice year-round, no matter the weather.
The same service University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, Central Michigan University all have, not to mention a variety of other schools in our conference.
The woman’s soccer team, baseball, and softball will all have access to this facility to run their practices as well.
This facility also serves as a great advantage to many in the local community. Outside recreational groups will be able to rent this facility to run their programs.
Also for those invloved in intramural sports at EMU, this facility will provide a place to engage in those activities.
For EMU, this is a win-win situation for our athletic programs to get a better the facility has the potential to generate a revenue stream through its portal components and provides additional space for year-round with relational activities.
Probably one of the biggest complaints I’ve heard is the cost of it simply is too much.
Now, I’m not saying $3.9 million is chump change, but when compared to what others in our conference have spent, I think you begin to see a different picture.
I know some would start by discussing what U-M and MSU spend, but to be completely frank with you, I would expect a Big Ten school to already have this type of capability, plus more.
Western Michigan in 2003 opened up their Donald Seelye Athletic, which is basically an indoor training facility with the same services it provides to their athletic programs plus more.
According to the WMU athletic department Web site, it’s facility cost $25 million, a very far cry away from the $3.5 million we spent on ours.
The University of Toledo, another school and our conference, showed the ratings cutting ceremony on their $9 million Fetterman Training Center according to the Toledo athletic department Web site just last week.
So our facility is not grossly expensive. It is simply a way to close the competitiveness gap that has existed in our athletic programs for a long time.
One student in “Eagle on the Street” stated instead of building a new facility we should consider recruiting better players. I agree recruiting the players is the way to improve our athletic programs. But that is the problem we are well on our way to solving by building the practice facility.
Coach Ron English and his staff have put together a very exciting recruiting class that is going to lead to some wins in the next season.
Our other great coaches at EMU have also done very good jobs recruiting players in with the right training, and now, with better facilities, we should have what it takes to gain more wins.
We have to remember the primary facilities focus has been on academics, and according to EMU’s mission statement, that’s where it should be.
The best example is the new science complex currently in the construction and the major renovation of Pray-Harrold which is scheduled to begin at the end of this school year.
Not to mention the many improvements to the residence halls.
So I am very excited about this new facility and what it means for our athletic programs. But I am more thankful for the primary focus of EMU’s administration on improving academic facilities first, then the athletic facilities.