By Kelsey Keener
Iron County Today
CEDAR CITY–The groundbreaking for the SUU George S. Eccles Sports Performance Center took place last Friday during SUU’s Homecoming celebrations. SUU Interim Athletic Director Debbie Corum, SUU football head coach Demario Warren and SUU President Scott Wyatt each spoke before the groundbreaking ceremony.
Corum began by thanking everyone who had a part in making the new sports facility possible and the audience for taking part in the celebration. She explained that the small space that strength and conditioning current takes place in prevents cardio equipment and sports teams from being able to workout as groups. The new Sports Performance Center will alleviate the scheduling difficulties as well as provide healthy snacks to help prevent athletes going to classes hungry.
“This facility is going to be huge for what we’re doing for our student athletes,” Corum said. “We’ll have much more time for all of our student athletes to be able to take part and get into the facility.”
Corum added that the SUU Athletic Department is also looking forward to the benefits this facility will provide in the future.
“This is just so exciting to us, we’re just so thrilled about it and the impact that it’s going to make on all 350 plus student athletes not only now, but for years and years in the future,” she said.
Coach Warren also expressed his gratitude to everyone who helped make the new facility possible.
“The reason I am proud of being part of this program and part of this community is because of the great people like you that give us everything we need to be successful on the field and off the field,” he said.
He described the advantages the new center will provide for all athletes, as well as for the football team in particular.
“I think this building is just a testament to our community, to our university, to our athletic department of trying to have a successful Division 1 football program,” he said. “A weight room is the backbone of a football program and with this new facility we’re going to have just as good a weight room as anyone in the country. So it puts us on an even playing field.”
President Wyatt emphasized the funding for this new facility is completely funded through donations to the university and explained how SUU benefits from generous donors.
“Our campus is different today because of all the support you’re willing to give us,” he said. “The students that come to Southern Utah University are having a better experience today and will have a better experience 6 months, and a year from now, because of all these gifts.”
Director of Cheer, Stunt and Dance Sadie Spencer said student athletes will benefit from being able to work out with their teammates.
“It doesn’t work out that we can ever work out together in the current facility,” Spencer said. “It’s going to motivate and push them to push each other to excel and be stronger.”
Head gymnastics coach Scott Bauman said the Sports Performance Center will allow more flexibility in training schedules.
“It’s going to completely change the way they’re (Strength and Conditioning staff) able to train our athletes,” Coach Bauman said. “We take our student athlete welfare very seriously, and we want them to be able to perform and compete at their best. We can put more teams in there at the same times and that way get hours opened up a lot more for everybody.”
The new facility is projected to be 9,000 square feet (three times the size of the Athletic Department’s current strength and conditioning space) and have a large weight room, a turf runway for agility training, staff offices and a nutrition station. It will be located west of the Eccles Coliseum and the J.D. and Alice C. Harris Center, next to the practice fields.