By Zoe Nicewander
SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va., — Shepherd University’s athletic department is looking to expand its athletic facilities with capital improvement dreams for the entire department, including renovation and expansion of the Kenneth J. Boone Field House.
“Renovation of the Boone Field House would allow for the construction of a larger weight room facility for use by all of the Shepherd University athletic programs, which would also give our [athletic] department more office space at the Butcher Center, which is at full capacity,” Shepherd University Athletic Director Chauncey Winbush said in a recent interview.
The project, which has been added to the University’s project schedule, would bring more athletic opportunities to the university, Winbush says.
“Ultimately, [an expansion] would allow us to better train our current student athletes as well as give our athletic programs a leg up from a recruiting standpoint … our ability to properly increase our sponsored sports offerings is limited by the size of the current weight room facility in the Butcher Center,” said Winbush.
Students are currently fundraising to generate donations that will go towards the future the field house project, sports equipment, team travel, and much more.
The second annual “Thankful to be a Ram” Campaign launched Nov.15., and continues until Dec. 15. The fundraising effort has over $14,000 thus far, according to the Give Campus website.
The athletic team that raises the most donations will win $1,500 as a result of attracting donors for the program, according to the website. Students also work athletic functions throughout the year to raise money for their teams to pay for uniforms, travel expenses, and more, according to Winbush.
“This campaign is an internal competition amongst athletic teams to see who can raise the most donors rather than the most funds,” Winbush said.
Senior Emily Brown is among those involved in reaching out to potential donors for the campaign.
“I’ve shared it on all of my social media accounts, my parents have donated, and as a school, we’ve reached a large amount of our current goal,” Brown said.
A member of the Men’s Tennis team, Carter Davis said he was unaware of the contest, but had heard of plans for a separate workout facility for student athletes.
“I have heard it will be built in the next five years, but there was speculation by the person who mentioned it to me … I heard there will be workout equipment, a training room, and locker rooms.”
Winbush said he wants to renovate the locker rooms that currently are located in the Butcher Center.
A former athlete himself, Winbush said the athletic department would like to also add lights to various facilities including Ram Stadium, Fairfax baseball stadium and Sara Cree softball field, among others.
The department also would like to add a new LED scoreboard to the football stadium as well.
“I would certainly love to add lights to our facilities but there are both financial and possibly political hurdles that limit our ability to achieve that goal…it is certainly on my facilities plan though,” said Winbush.
Other projects on his facilities plan include construction of a batting facility for the baseball and softball programs, comprehensive renovation of the visitor’s side of the football stadium and a press box for the soccer facility.
“In an ideal world, these renovations would cost about $4million and would add roughly 10,500 square feet to the Boone Field House,” Winbush said.