Work begins on Donald "J" Seelye Athletic Center
June 19, 2001
KALAMAZOO -- Site preparation has begun around Oakland Gym on WMU's East Campus to get ready for construction this fall of the Donald "J" Seelye Athletic Center.
The 120,000-square-foot building, announced last summer and originally planned for a site south of Oliver Street, will be constructed at the north end of Waldo Stadium and have major entry points on Stadium Drive and through the front of what is now Oakland Gym on Oakland Drive. The Brink Printing Services building will be demolished to make way for the new facility, which will be the first indoor practice facility for varsity athletics built at WMU in more than 40 years.
When completed in 2002, the facility will serve as a practice site for baseball, football, golf, softball and men's and women's soccer. It will also house coaches' offices for several of those sports and for track and field. A future addition to provide indoor practice space for track will be built on the current site of the Physical Plant building.
The Seelye Center will provide an attractive new focus for those entering the campus on Stadium Drive. The Oakland Drive entrance to the building has been designed to preserve the look and atmosphere of historic East Campus by incorporating the existing front wall and roofline of Oakland Gym. A portion of the interior will be dedicated to honoring the history of athletics at WMU and provide a meeting place for alumni athletes and boosters who are members of the W Club.
Removal of interior structures and asbestos abatement has been under way for several weeks at Oakland Gym. This week, the back and roof of the building are being opened to remove debris. Construction on the new facility is expected to be in full swing by fall.
The $20 million Seelye Center is named for the late Don Seelye, Kalamazoo businessman and a longtime Bronco athletics booster. Approximately $5 million has been raised of the $8 million in private gifts needed to fund the new building.
Media contact: Thom Myers, 616 387-8400, email@example.com