A Home for Excellence

A Home for Excellence

New center emphasizes the student in student-athlete
Thursday, June 12, 2014

UNH footballThe squeak of basketball shoes, the heavy clank of weights, the—sound of silence as students dig in on term papers and study for tests? Starting this fall, the hottest spot in the always-busy Field House may not be Lundholm Gymnasium or the Jerry Azumah Performance Center but the new Student-Athlete Center for Excellence, which will offer a dedicated space and staff to student-athletes for academic support, career planning, and programs to help balance the demands of academics and a Division 1 sports schedule.

Under construction now, the new facility will take over space currently occupied by five decommissioned racquetball and squash courts on the second floor of the Field House. The center will offer quiet study rooms modeled after those in the university's Dimond Library, a fully equipped resource room, breakout rooms, and a team/group meeting space that can hold up to 72 people. In addition to student-athletes who compete for UNH's 20 Division 1 teams, the space will be available to elite athletes in the UNH-based adaptive sports and recreation program Northeast Passage. The fully ADA compliant facility will be accessible by a new elevator in the main lobby of the Field House, just outside Lundholm.

A key piece of the university's overall emphasis on "the whole student," the facility will have academic support staff and life skills staff as well as advisers and tutors. Athletic director Marty Scarano says it significantly enhances his department's ability to offer student-athletes the best opportunity to achieve academic excellence and develop skills for life beyond UNH. "This center has been a long-term priority of ours, and we couldn't be more excited to see it finally come to fruition," he says.

Scarano isn't the only one who feels that way. Anchored by an anonymous lead gift of $500,000, the $1.9 million project will be completed with private funds. "Without the support of a small, distinguished group of our most ardent supporters, this Center would still be on our dream list," Scarano says. "We are immensely grateful for their generosity and belief in UNH."

Originally published by: 

UNH Magazine

Photography by Mike Ross