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Shocker Student-Athlete Success Center

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  • Shocker Student-Athlete Success Center

    Taylor Eldridge: ‘A spectacular upgrade’: WSU breaks ground on $13.8M Student-Athlete Success Center

    This is a bit dated (I have had trouble accessing Wichita Eagle articles online lately) but sounds like this new facility is not only badly needed but will a significant positive especially for (by far) the Shocker Track and Field Program.

    Some of these comments remind me of where we were with Henry Levitt Arena before the Roundhouse Renaiissance although the situation for Shocker Track & Field has probably been significantly worse. I feel bad the Shocker Track & Field program, particular had to put up with this. Amazing how successful Coavh Rainbolt and his staff have been considering the facilities they have had to work with. I held Coach Rainbolt and his high staff in high regard before but even more so after reading this article. Good to see that the program that has provided the Shockers with 2 of their 3 AAC Championships and consistently strong showings in AAC competition are finally getting the facilities that they deserve.

    While the project will enhance the academic experience for student-athletes on every WSU team, it’s clear that the biggest beneficiaries of the building will be track and field athletes.

    Currently, the track and field team is housed in the archaic bowels of Cessna Stadium. After speaking face-to-face with many of the athletes on the team, WSU Foundation president Elizabeth King knew how crucial this project was for the track and field team.

    “We listened to our student-athletes, particularly our young, female athletes, who would talk about the mice that would run over their feet in the showers and the really deplorable conditions of the men’s and women’s locker rooms and team rooms,” King said in her speech. “Now they’re going to have a chance to have a state-of-the-art locker room and team room. They have deserved this for so many years, and finally now we’re going to make it happen.”

    The housing situation for track and field athletes has been so poor that the program is ashamed of it when they try to recruit athletes to the team.

    Adding brand-new locker rooms and a team room large enough to host team meetings with 120-plus athletes will be a game-changer for the track and field program, head coach Steve Rainbolt told the media. The track and field team will also have its own weight-lifting room in the new facility, which will lead out to Cessna Stadium.

    “I will tell you those locker rooms are tired, there’s no question about it,” Rainbolt said. “There’s leaks and just the nature of an old facility like Cessna Stadium, they’re just not livable, they’re really not. This is going to be a spectacular upgrade.

    The current setup has student-athletes from every WSU team sharing the same academic center and weightlifting room inside Koch Arena. Both areas are overwhelmed by the total number of student-athletes they have to support.

    King said after speaking with student-athletes from all sports, the biggest complaint she heard was that the overcrowded situation in the academic center did not lead to conducive studying and tutoring areas. Study halls are difficult with tables so crowded, and there aren’t enough private rooms where 1-on-1 tutoring can take place.

    Those concerns were backed up by the many WSU head coaches who were in attendance Tuesday.

    “In my eight years here, one of the biggest complaints from our student-athletes has been just the size of the academic learning center,” WSU softball coach Kristi Bredbenner said.

    The WSU Foundation raised all $13.8 million in private funds for the project.
    Better late than never I guess.

    AD Darron Boatright, Coach Rainbolt and Coach Bredbenner comments on video: