Rutgers Athletics details $100M plan to expand facilities
In November, Rutgers University broke ground on the construction of a 295,000-square-foot, 4-storey athletic facility and parking deck on the Livingston campus.
The facility will be built adjacent to the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC) lot, and is a component of the “R Big Ten Build” master plan. This plan includes a comprehensive campaign to raise $100 million for premier Rutgers Athletic training facilities, according to the Big Ten Build plan website.
Launched in January 2016, the campaign initiated a partnership between Rutgers Athletics and RWJBarnabas Health, through which the hospital will become the exclusive health-care provider for Rutgers Athletics, according to the site.
Through this partnership, Rutgers will not only receive funding for elite athletic training facilities, it will be provided a comprehensive sports medicine program to serve Rutgers athletes and students, RWJ Barnabas CEO and President Barry Ostrowsky said.
The facility will primarily serve the men and women’s basketball programs, but will also help the gymnastics, wrestling and volleyball programs, while providing an additional parking deck for students and staff attending events, according to the website.
The highlights of the new facility are its state-of-the-art locker rooms, practice venues, strength and conditioning suites, coaches offices and meeting rooms, Ostrowsky said. The partnership has been well received by both involved parties and was commended by University President Robert L. Barchi last month.
“This partnership between the State University of New Jersey, with its academic health center, and the state's most comprehensive integrated health system, will be transformational on many levels, giving our students and athletes a world-class sports medicine program and helping us construct a cutting-edge athletic training facility,” Barchi said in an interview for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights Athletic Website.
RWJBarnabas Health will be investing a total of $18 million to create the sports medicine program and construct the facility, which is expected to be completed by July 2019, according to the site.
RWJBarnabas Health has shown continued interest, and has promised to contribute future investments to advance medical research at Rutgers, Ostrowsky said.
They hope to not only aid Rutgers medical schools but to advance any academic opportunities for students in sports medicine fields, he said.
“This partnership represents the next natural step in bringing together the State University of New Jersey and the state's finest health care system ... with the new RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center serving as the cornerstone for a nationally recognized collegiate athletics and sports medicine program, we look forward to investing in academic medical education, sports performance and overall community wellness," Ostrowsky said in an interview on the Rutgers Athletics website.
Known as "Phase 1" of the “R Big Ten Build” plan, this proposed master plan includes three projects: The Multisport Training Sports complex called “RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center,” a Lacrosse and Soccer Training Complex and an enhanced Football Training Complex, according to the project's outline online.
The main mission of the project seems to be dedicated to ensuring Rutgers is not only a contender in the Big Ten Conference, but a much larger, and competitive force to be taken seriously within the conference, Barchi said.
Rutgers Director of Athletics Patrick Hobbs spoke to the press on the day that construction of the facility broke ground.
“There is an urgency around everything we do here in athletics," he said in an interview, "We're in, in my view, the best conference in the United States. We're in the toughest division in the best conference in the United States, and obviously, you've seen some of the results. We need to change those results. The way we do that is by recruiting great coaches, supporting the coaches you have and provide them with facilities they can be successful with."
As of Dec. 31, 2016, the campaign had fundraised over $69 million to construct the facilities, according to the site.
“My message to all of the folks that are out there and are thinking about when the time is to support Rutgers Athletics, now is the time to support Rutgers Athletics because we're on our way," Hobbes said in the same interview. "We're going to build this wonderful building and other facilities."
Marissa Scognamiglio is a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.