- Associated Press - Friday, March 28, 2014

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) - Dakota Wesleyan University plans to break ground this fall on a two-story, 90,000-square-foot health and wellness center on the south side of the Mitchell campus.

The university has raised $10 million to build the facility and plans to raise another $5 million to renovate the existing Christen Family Wellness Center and pay for operating expenses, The Daily Republic reported (http://bit.ly/1g704Cy).

The new facility will include a 200-meter indoor track surrounding three multipurpose courts, 7,000 square feet of space for exercise equipment and fitness training, a wrestling room, locker rooms, additional space for strength and conditioning, and classrooms for seminars and leadership training.

Athletic Director Curt Hart said many fellow schools in the Great Plains Athletic Conference have modern athletic training facilities, and the new center will boost Dakota Wesleyan’s sports programs.

“Everywhere we go, our student-athletes see the facilities they have,” he said of other GPAC schools. “It’s hard sometimes to recruit without being able to have that facility to show them.”

President Amy Novak said the project has been a priority since she was named the school’s leader nearly a year ago. It should be finished by January 2016.

“I’ve watched our student athletes in pretty confined spaces make workouts possible,” she said. “It’s exciting to be able to give this to them and to the community.”

The new health and wellness center will be open to the general public on a membership basis, Novak said.

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Information from: The Daily Republic, http://www.mitchellrepublic.com