By Michael Freeman, Assistant Sports Editor
With new and renovated athletic facilities, the Wildcat teams, along with students, can look forward to using some of the best facilities available this year. The Powell Fitness Center, the football practice field and the courts at the Eager Tennis Pavilion are just a few of the restorations that the Athletics Department has been working on recently.
“It’s something that’s going to benefit not only our student athletes, but just the overall atmosphere that ACU students and fans will get to experience,” said Jared Mosley, athletics director.
Before the fall semester began, a $450,000 renovation to the Powell Fitness Center was completed. The renovation nearly doubled the square footage of the building, which was originally 4,800 square feet. Along with the added space, new weight equipment, new paint and new flooring were all installed. Last year, students may have been discouraged
from going inside of Powell due to the lack of space, Mosley said. But, the renovations can change that.
“It’ll allow us to handle more of the student body that wants to come and work out in that facility,” Mosley said. “It won’t be near as cramped with student-athletes just because we have more space to utilize and better handle what we need to do.”
The Powell Fitness Center was not the only place that received a make-over. The football practice field was resurfaced with field turf on a regulation width, 60-yard field complete with an end zone and goalpost. The new field turf product is the same surface that is used at Shotwell Stadium.
“We wanted to have a surface that we could utilize in inclement weather to where we could still get out and work,” Mosley said. “But also to have a surface that we could practice on that’s similar to what we play on each week.”
The only projects left for the field are the installation of rod-iron fencing that will run from the Powell Fitness Center to Ambler St. Lights will also be installed to illuminate the field and the parking lot of A.B. Morris Hall. Both projects are scheduled to be completed within the next six to eight weeks.
A couple of other minor renovations included new paint for offices in the Teague Special Events Center and new carpeting in some of Moody Coliseum’s locker rooms. But, another major renovation was the tennis courts at the Eager Tennis Pavilion. Although no new courts were added, the courts were resurfaced using a post-tension concrete system, which will require less maintenance in the future. The renovation also added more viewing area for fans. The courts should be completed by Sept. 1.
“It’s just a big improvement for the whole university,” John Walker, assistant head coach of the tennis teams, said. “It’s great. Any improvements like this are just big for the school and for the athletic program.”
Another renovation that is still in its planning phase is a soccer and softball fieldhouse. ACU is currently collecting donations for the project, which is estimated to cost between $800,000 and $1 million. The new facility would house both soccer and softball offices, locker rooms, team meeting rooms and fan restrooms. And depending on the speed of when donations are received, construction may begin as early as one year from now.
“I think from the athletic standpoint, it provides our student-athletes with first class facilities to train and develop and just further better themselves in their competitive arena,” Mosley said.
Four ACU sports facilities were renovated in the past year.
* Powell Fitness Center – new weight equipment, new paint, new flooring, space added
*Tennis courts at Eager Tennis Pavilion – resurfaced post-tensioned concrete foundation, fencing.
*Football practice field – new field turf, goalposts, lights and fencing.
*Teague offices and Moody locker rooms – new paint and carpeting