Heidelberg University rolls out plans for new $28 million athletic complex

Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 7:42 PM EST
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TIFFIN, Ohio (WTVG) - It’s a $28 million investment that will encompass 110,000 square feet and it will simply be called, the fieldhouse.

Heidelberg University is about to embark on the largest, and what university officials say, is one of the most transformational projects in its history. They announced the construction of a new student athletics, academic and recreation center to be built on campus in Tiffin.

“Be so stressed about ‘hey, I gotta get up at four in the morning to get to practice,’” said Jason Miller, associate athletic director for the university.

No more early morning wakeup calls and sports teams sharing the schools only gymnasium, one that rivals most area high school gyms, for Heidelberg University’s D3 athletes. The new facility will be home to a 200-meter competition-level track and field space, three indoor basketball courts and a state-of-the-art training room and locker rooms.

“Our indoor track team shovels snow on our track during the winter to be able to practice, and so those things are going to be transformational for us,” said Miller.

Plans also include a leadership development and team-building space, a lobby for events and social gatherings and an upper-level mezzanine for events and two-sided viewing.

For Ashley Ballard, who plays on the women’s basketball team, she says finding gym time can be challenging.

“When we don’t have our official gym time scheduled, it’s definitely difficult to be able to get in in the off hours if other people have priority over us. First come, first served,” said Ballard.

There will also be classrooms for Exercise Science, Health Science, Sports Management and the graduate Athletic Training Program.

“Kind of been everybody’s mantra is we share, really, really, nicely we share, but I think the students most importantly will benefit from the ability to not share at 5 a.m. or not have to share at midnight,” said Kayela Tidrick, an instructor with sports management.

The fieldhouse will be built on the site of the current Senior Apartments on Main Street, just south of the football stadium. Rob Huntington, university president said the fieldhouse will be open to members of the Tiffin community.

“It’ll anchor essentially the east end of Tiffin and give people within walking distance, let alone a short drive distance, access to something,” said Huntington.

The project also includes the largest single gift donation the university has ever received, $8 million from the late Frann Zverina, who graduated from Heidelberg in 1974.

“It was a time when little girls and young women did not have college and university sanctioned athletics and she wanted to play and compete,” said Huntington. “All she wanted to do was dedicate it to a fieldhouse that would at least for sure be incredibly welcoming to women.”

University officials said construction is slated to begin soon with a planned completion and opening in the Fall of 2025.

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