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Tiger coaches, athletes excited about new athletic facility

Dakota Wesleyan University coaches and athletes are ecstatic about the future of Tiger athletics after Thursday’s announcement of a new $15 million project.

“I’ve been saying this for a long time that DWU is moving in a positive direction,” DWU first-year men’s basketball coach Matt Wilber said. “It’s tremendous for our students and student athletes.”

The university has raised $10 million of the total project amount for the new health and wellness facility, which will be located on the south side of Norway Avenue, and renovations to the current athletic facility, which was recently renamed Christen Family Athletic Center.

The first step toward the project is a 90,000-square-foot facility with two levels, including a 200-meter indoor track, three indoor multi-purpose sport courts, locker rooms, 7,000 square feet of wellness space dedicated to cardiovascular equipment, weights and fitness training, a wrestling room, classroom space of seminars and leadership training, and strength and conditioning training space.

The second part of the project includes renovations to the Christen Family Athletic Center, including expanding the athletic weight room and athletic training space and remodeling locker rooms.

“I think all of our athletes and coaches are excited to have more space in the winter,” said DWU men’s soccer head coach Jeremy Tosaya, whose team practices around 10 p.m. to get access to the gym during the winter. “We’re on top of each other constantly trying to cram into the current building.”

During the winter months, the track and field team practices in the hallway of the athletic center. Sophomore distance runner Haley Brunke said the indoor track will help the Tigers be able to practice in a meet environment.

“Through the whole winter when the weather is bad, I’m stuck on a treadmill,” the Scotland native said. “Having an indoor facility would be extremely beneficial. The treadmill pounds on your body and your stride is different.

“Now that we’re going to have that new facility, I think it’s going to increase the track numbers a lot.”

Wilber, Tosaya and Brunke all said the facility will greatly help the recruiting process for athletics.

“We’re finally adding a facility that brings us up to par with the rest of the GPAC,” Tosaya said. “Our outdoor facilities are phenomenal, so adding this indoor facility is definitely going to help us bring people to the university.”

The addition allows the Tiger athletic programs to grow and shows students that DWU is making an effort to grow.

“I think it benefits the whole school,” Wilber said. “It shows we’re working to get better and trying to improve.”

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.