Board of Trustees to consider athletics-recreation complex, student center construction projects

Site plan, click for larger view Site plan for the proposed Anderson Athletics and Recreation Complex and the Anderson Student Center. (Click on image for larger view.)

Board of Trustees to consider athletics-recreation complex, student center construction projects

The St. Thomas Board of Trustees in February will consider whether the university should begin construction next spring on the Anderson Athletics and Recreation Complex, with the Anderson Student Center likely to follow in the fall of 2010.

The board’s Executive Committee agreed Thursday to forward the athletics and recreation project to the full board and several of its committees for their consideration when they meet Feb. 18-19.

If the board approves the $52 million project, construction would begin in late May after graduation ceremonies and would involve the demolition of Schoenecker Arena, Coughlan Field House and Foley Theater.

The new athletic facilities, which would open in the fall of 2010, would be constructed on a similar but slightly larger site and would include a basketball and volleyball arena, a larger field house with a 200-meter track, an aquatics center, a fitness center, a weight room, locker rooms, offices and classrooms.

After the athletics and recreation complex opened, plans call for St. Thomas to raze O’Shaughnessy Hall and – with board approval – construct the student center on Parking Lot H. The $66 million center would open by February 2012, after which Murray-Herrick Campus Center would be renovated and used for administrative and academic purposes.

The Board of Trustees discussed the athletics and recreation complex in October but chose to delay approval because of concerns about the weakened economy’s impact on the university’s ability to raise funds for the project. St. Thomas since has raised enough funds to prompt the Executive Committee to forward the project to the board for its consideration.

The athletic and recreation complex, the student center and the parking ramp now under construction on the south campus all will be named for Lee and Penny Anderson, who have made a $60 million gift for the projects. Lee Anderson is a St. Thomas trustee and owner and chairman of APi Group Inc., a Twin Cities-based holding corporation of construction, manufacturing and fire protection companies.