New center aims to modernize programs, attract potential recruits
January 17, 2019
Last November, university President Michael Engh, S.J. officially announced the building of a new on-campus recreation center to accommodate the rising Division I athletic program. This latest addition will be one of the major changes constituting the university’s Integrated Strategic Plan for 2020.
The upcoming 50,000-square-foot Athletic Excellence Center (AEC) will more than triple the space available for student-athletes to thrive in training and in physical health as well as in academics, according to Renee Baumgartner, director of intercollegiate athletics at Santa Clara. This element of the school’s development strategy—to be named the Stephen C. and Patricia A. Schott Athletic Excellence Center—aims to enhance the reputation and expand the visibility of the school nationwide, addressing the sixth goal of the Integrated Strategic Plan.
“The Athletic Excellence Center will improve the quality of our athletic facilities offered to student-athletes,” Engh, S.J. told the Santa Clara community. “As the size of our student body increases in the coming years, facilities designated to the recreational needs of our entire student body will need to grow as well.”
Lead funding of $15 million from former member of the Santa Clara baseball program Stephen Schott ’60 and his wife Patricia followed by a $10 million gift from former Santa Clara soccer player Mary Stevens ’84 and her husband Mark made the Athletic Excellence Center possible.
The remainder of the total estimated cost will also be funded by donors. Altogether, donors have raised $32 million so far for the AEC, according to Shawn Nestor, assistant athletic director of media relations.
“The AEC will be a game changer for the entire SCU Athletic Department,” said Jason Ludwig, assistant coach for Santa Clara men’s basketball. “It will offer a state of the art facility for our student-athletes to train and study. It will also enhance our ability to recruit by giving us a facility that is similar or better than the top programs on the west coast. This, along with everything else Santa Clara has to offer, will help attract the best and brightest student athletes in the country.”
Mary Stevens told Santa Clara Athletics of her own anticipations, expressing confidence that the signs and displays decorating the facility with Santa Clara’s athletic history will assist in that initial attraction of top recruits.
“If you are going to build a quality Division I sports program these days, you need to have outstanding facilities, great coaching staff, a visionary athletic director and support from the Board of Trustees and the administration—all of which are now coming together at SCU,” added Mark Stevens. “And you need to be able to recruit great students who are also great athletes. All these things reinforce themselves.”
The new facility will contain academic, performance and sports medicine centers. The 4,200-square-foot Stevens Academic Center will have numerous areas to focus on studies with an outdoor balcony, computer stations and group study rooms.
Quadrupling the size of the Malley Center facility, the 9,000 square foot Bronco Bench Foundation Sports Performance Center will have additional cardio and weight training equipment and offices for members of the Santa Clara athletic department.
The sports medicine center will provide treatment and rehabilitation for athletes, medical offices and a hydrotherapy room, with hot and cold pools and an underwater treadmill.
The two-story building will also have two practice gymnasiums, the Dick Davey and Carroll William courts and will serve as an additional venue for large school events.
“Currently the Leavey Center is shared by Men’s and Women’s Basketball and Women’s Volleyball. Our seasons overlap in the fall and it becomes very hard to make space for all three teams,” Coach Ludwig said. “Practice times have to be spread out throughout the day which limits classes the student athletes can take. Players will now have a space they can access 24/7 without a worry about availability.”
Jada Paddock, a third-year participant in Santa Clara’s intramural volleyball program, explained her experience in being displaced from the court in Leavey due to priority of basketball practice.
“Having a larger space will allow for more sports to be played simultaneously,” Paddock said.
Accessible not just to student athletes, the AEC will also be available to other members of the Santa Clara community. The Davey Court will be open to the student body in the evenings and on weekends.
Santa Clara’s Board of Trustees has given design and concept approval for the new facility, and according to Nestor, the project awaits final approval this year.
The much-anticipated AEC, which will be located next to the Leavey Center, is expected to break ground in 2019.
Contact Annika Tiña at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.