UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - Saginaw Valley State University hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion and renovation of the Ryder Center today (June 3) on the campus of SVSU.
The $20 million project will consist of two phases. The first will be the construction of a new field house that will include a 300-meter indoor track to replace the indoor and outdoor tracks SVSU currently uses. Attached to the north side of the current Ryder Center, the addition is scheduled to be completed in April 2014. The infield of the track will have a synthetic turf surface suitable for baseball, softball, football and soccer practice purposes.
In May 2014, work will begin on an extensive renovation of the current building, which opened in 1989. Notable improvements include reducing seating capacity in O’Neill Arena for basketball to 2,400 seats from the current 3,500 to create a more intimate environment for fans. Potential seating for other events, such as Commencement, will increase from 4,000 seats to around 4,700 seats. This construction phase is expected to be completed by November 2014.
The Ryder Center has many uses beyond intercollegiate athletics. SVSU has 17 student-led club sports programs serving 310 students this year, as well as 33 separate intramural leagues. During the 2011-12 academic year, SVSU recorded nearly 5,600 SVSU student participants in fitness, recreation, and/or intramural and club sports programs (students participating in more than one structured activity would be counted multiple times).
Beyond SVSU purposes, the Ryder Center also hosts a number of community events, as well as high school athletic contests each year, including a number of swim meets since the 2012 renovation of the Gerstacker Regional Aquatics Center, funded in part by a grant from the Midland-based Gerstacker Foundation.
SVSU is borrowing up to $12 million to finance the project; the remaining funds will come from existing capital reserves.