The Rutgers University Board of Governors on Thursday approved construction of a multisport training and practice facility for Rutgers athletes on Livingston Campus.
The four-story, 125-000-square-foot facility will replace outdated and undersized facilities with new practice rooms and locker rooms, as well as strength-training and conditioning facilities for the men’s and women’s basketball, gymnastics and wrestling programs. It is expected to open July 2019.
“We are incredibly excited about this project,” said Pat Hobbs, director of Athletics for Rutgers. “The RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center will make a tremendous difference in the lives of our students and the competitiveness of our programs.”
The board approved the naming of the facility in November, when Rutgers and RWJBarnabas Health announced a partnership to create a comprehensive sports medicine program to serve Rutgers athletes, students and communities throughout New Jersey. Through this partnership, RWJBarnabas Health will become the exclusive health care provider for Rutgers Athletics, while creating a best-in-class sports medicine program that can be expanded across the state.
“When completed, the RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center will serve our Big Ten athletes, benefit the wider New Jersey community through sports medicine research and provide parking in what will be a vibrant corner of the Livingston Campus,” said Antonio Calcado, executive vice president for strategic planning and operations at Rutgers.
The facility will include space for nutrition counseling, coaches’ offices, a Rutgers Athletics Hall of Fame, spirit shop and a space for student athletes to eat meals. A 555-space parking deck will be integrated into the building with space for bicycle storage.
The projected cost of the project is $115 million. The university will go out to bond for $26 million to pay for the parking garage, which will eventually be paid for with event parking fees. The university expects to pay for the rest of the project using funds raised through the R Big Ten Build campaign, a multimillion-dollar naming gift from RWJBarnabas Health, and tax credits from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s Economic Redevelopment and Growth Program.
The project is one of three being funded through the first phase of the R Big Ten Build campaign, which has generated $71.1 million in donations as of mid-March. The campaign also will cover a lacrosse and soccer training complex and an enhanced football training complex at the Hale Center.
In the past three years, Rutgers Athletics has seen an 80 percent growth in its donor base, which has helped fund projects aimed at bringing Rutgers facilities up to the standards of those at other schools within the Big Ten. The goal of the R Big Ten Build campaign is ultimately to raise $100 million.
“Rutgers Athletics is committed to fiscal responsibility in the process of ensuring its competitive success in the nation’s premier athletic and academic conference,” Hobbs said. “The Big Ten not only provides unprecedented exposure, but enables membership in the Big Ten Academic Alliance, a consortium widely considered to be the model for effective and voluntary collaboration among top research universities.”
The facility will be located on the southwest corner of the Athletics Plaza, adjacent to the Louis Brown Athletic Center and across from the Rutgers Business School building. Construction is expected to begin this spring.