When CUA’s sports teams take to their home fields, they’re now playing on some of the finest outdoor facilities in NCAA’s Division III, says CUA Athletic Director Mike Allen — and the credit for the excellence of those facilities goes to the alumni and friends of the university.
“The students couldn’t be more excited about the new, state-of-the-art artificial turf field and resurfaced track lanes; the baseball field with its new infield, bleachers and press box; the softball field with new dugouts and fencing; the resurfaced tennis courts; and the soccer field with its new Bermuda grass,” says Allen. “We want to thank the hundreds of alumni and friends who together contributed $1.8 million to Phase I of the Competitive Edge Campaign for athletics, without whom none of this would have been possible. We also owe a great deal of gratitude to former Athletic Director Bob Talbot for his tireless fund-raising efforts to support the campaign.”
Allen and members of CUA’s Office of University Development are now focusing on raising money to improve the interior of the Raymond A. DuFour Center. One of the main needs there is additional locker room space. Currently there is only one men’s and one women’s locker room in the facility, which means that Catholic University’s sports teams have to share the same locker room with visiting opponents. “As you can imagine, sharing a locker room with the opposing team makes for uncomfortable group dynamics,” says Allen.
The only sport in which teams competing at CUA change and shower in separate rooms is football. To accommodate the size of the two football teams, the visitors need to take over the women’s locker room. With both locker rooms full, the university isn’t able to schedule any other athletic events on football game days.
To remedy those problems, Phase II of the Competitive Edge fundraising campaign calls for building new men’s and women’s locker rooms. Tentative plans call for building the additional locker rooms in the space now devoted to the DuFour Center’s athletic equipment room, with the equipment being relocated to another part of the building.
Another planned renovation will create something that the DuFour Center has needed for a long time: an attractive reception room where CUA coaches can hold meetings with prospective recruits and their families and where the athletic department can entertain alumni and friends of the university for special events. This reception room, which will display the trophies and memorabilia of CUA Hall of Fame athletes, will be created in what is now one of the building’s two dance studios.
One-third of the money for the DuFour interior improvements has been raised, and the university will soon begin reaching out to alumni and friends of CUA to help make up the difference, says Bob Sullivan, vice president for university development.
“Over the years, Catholic University has been blessed with great student athletes and a truly excellent athletic program,” Sullivan observes. “With the help of our alumni and friends, we will make sure that our facilities match the excellence of our program.”
The planned reception room to meet with high school athletes jibes with a benefit that accrues from all the indoor and outdoor improvements — an uptick in the recruitment of top student athletes, says Allen. “One of the first things high school athletes want to know when they visit the campus is what kind of field or facilities they would be using [if they enroll at CUA],” he reports. “Because high school students are impressed with the improvements made so far, we are starting to see serious interest in Catholic University from talented prospective
student athletes who otherwise would have been looking elsewhere.”
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