Wed, Jan. 8, 2014 - [Loras]
Did you know in 2013 Loras College Athletics made improvements around the campus to the wrestling room, wrestling locker room, the Fieldhouse lobby, added a lounge for both men's and women's soccer teams, a baseball lounge and batting cages, and updated the Herrig press box suite? Additionally, the track and field and cross country teams will be installing new record board in the Graber Sports Center. These improvements were all made possible through generous donations and the effort of many current members of the Loras staff.
The wrestling room, located on the top floor of the Graber Center has not been updated since the doors opened in 1982. Head wrestling coach Randy Steward said, "The renovations to the wrestling room and the wrestling team locker room are fantastic. We feel it has played, and will play, a huge impact on recruiting future Loras wrestlers. Through the generosity of alums and friends we were able to complete the project in a first class manner."
The updates for the wrestling program included painting and adding quotes to the walls and installing new mats. Also, the new locker room features carpeted floors, sofas, and large individual lockers for the athletes.
The Graber Sports Center was repainted and resurfaced in 2012 and the multiuse venue will have another upgrade soon. The Loras College Track & Field and Cross Country programs will install new record boards soon. Bob Schultz expressed his gratitude to both alumni and families that donated to the project. "Our programs have had some tremendous athletes over the years and they've left their mark in many ways. This is a great chance for us to continue to upgrade the area we call home and recognize those accomplishments at the same time. Our alums and friends of the program showed us great support in getting this project to this point. I want to thank them for helping us."
The Fieldhouse lobby was a crucial improvement for the success of Loras Athletics, specifically the football and soccer programs. Soccer coach Dan Rothert stated, "By adding flags on the outside, new lettering, mats and décor in the lobby it has given the building a sense of relevance for all who visit. Most importantly, it is more welcoming to potential students. This is a big help for recruiting because it is often times their first impression of Loras College."
Adding soccer lounges, which are located in the lower level of the Fieldhouse, has given both men's and women's teams a place to congregate. "They give our teams even more of the family atmosphere we want and it also brings our players to our office more often. We find our athletes showing up earlier for practice, staying later and just coming by for a place to study or hangout between classes," Dan Rothert added. These areas connect directly to the locker-room and include features such as TV's, leather couches, sound systems, foosball and ping pong tables.
The addition of batting cages and a baseball lounge have also arrived on the lower level of the Fieldhouse. When the weather doesn't cooperate, the team will have the chance to hit and pitch in a space they can call their own. Head baseball coach Carl Tebon says, "It gives our players an opportunity to improve their skills all year round without having to worry about other groups using the facility".
The area includes a full 70-foot batting cage, Atec pitching machine, multiple drill stations, and a full length bullpen area with an indoor pitching mound. It also boasts a 55 inch TV, leather couches, and computer hook ups to evaluate swinging and pitching mechanics.
Finally, improving the suite portion of the Herrig Press Box gives Loras another boost in the game day experience. Loras is able to use the area for a variety of home events, including Homecoming, and other outside groups who visit the Loras College campus.
Athletic Director Bob Quinn is proud of each of the improvements.
"We are blessed to have alumni who support our athletic goals and enable us to build these types of facilities. Building and maintaining state of the art facilities is crucial to NCAA Division III institutions."
"We have wonderful facilities that serve the entire Loras Community," Quinn added. "There is always more to do like maintaining state of the art athletic venues for all of our student-athletes. We will need to continue to rely on the generosity of our alumni to accomplish all of these goals."
Loras College continues to celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2013-14 and is looking forward to maintaining these most recent upgrades and helping the teams compete athletically on the Division III level.