ELMHURST, Ill. In the first year of a five-year "Summit Plan" initiative, member institutions of The Summit League advanced upgrades to athletics facilities, student-athlete support, and several other key areas. Athletics directors reviewed their institutions progress at the league's recent Joint Council meetings.
"I am definitely pleased with the progress that our institutions have made in the first year of the Summit Plan," said Commissioner Tom Douple. "We are making outstanding advancements with new projects in the near-term plans for several of our institutions. There is a true commitment by our members to improve and the future is extremely bright for our league."
All 10 Summit League members are in the midst of new construction, recently completed a new facility, or significantly upgraded their existing facilities. Among the projects is the new Durwood Soccer Stadium and Recreational Field, currently being built at UMKC. The $9 million facility will feature 1,000 seats, turf and a four-lane non-competition track that will make it one of the best soccer venues in the entire Midwest.
IPFW will begin work on a $42 million addition to its existing Gates Center that will include 30 new offices, new locker rooms, an athletics-only weight room and a 200m track. The project is expected to break ground in the spring of 2009.
South Dakota State has also experienced recent construction. SDSU added a new softball field, a new baseball park and a new soccer practice field that will open next season. In addition, the school built new locker rooms with team lounges for volleyball, women's basketball, women's swimming & diving and men's basketball, while an academic center for student-athletes and wellness center is also under construction.
Oakland underwent a renovation of its coaches offices and Oral Roberts has plans for an indoor baseball and track and field facility.
Centenary, IUPUI, North Dakota State, Southern Utah and Western Illinois are making upgrades to existing facilities. The Gold Dome at Centenary will see new seating, a new weight room, a remodeled athletic training room among other improvements. IUPUI renovated seating and the training room at The Jungle in a project that also included new offices for coaches and administration.
North Dakota State renovated its weight room, volleyball facility, football/soccer practice facility and basketball locker rooms and offices. Southern Utah is renovating its baseball and soccer fields during the spring and Western Illinois has made softball stadium upgrades after improving its volleyball venue.
Each Summit League member institution also increased their emphasis on student-athlete support across the board by hiring additional staff and increasing the number of available scholarships in several sports. In addition, all members fully instituted the league's branding plan to usher in the new name and logo that was unveiled prior to the 2007-08 academic year.