The University of Louisiana at Monroe director of athletics Brian Wickstrom announced the beginning of Phase I of the Football Endzone Facility on Friday night at the annual Outback Classic Kickoff Dinner.
The new facility is the first athletic facility in ULM history to be funded completely by private donations and it is the first athletic facility enhancement since 1979.
A total of 31 donors, comprised of individuals, families and companies, combined to pledge three million dollars for Phase I of the facility.
Phase I of the new facility is scheduled to total 11,675 square feet and it will be located in the north endzone and will attach to the current facility. The current equipment room will be flipped and will tie into the new locker room that will be housed inside the new facility.
“Obviously this new facility is something that we have dreamed about since we arrived here in 2010,” said head football coach Todd Berry. “This new addition will benefit our current student-athletes and it will also help us in regards to recruiting."
Coach Berry explains that in order to keep up with other Universities in terms of recruiting, this is a good investment for the future of ULM football.
"This is something that has needed to be done for years and years and it is important as we continue to move the program forward," Berry said. "The athletic administration did this in an impressive amount of time in regards to how quickly they were able to fundraise for this facility."
Berry was appreciative of those individuals who helped bring this facility to a reality during these tough economic times.
"I am appreciative of the people that stepped up in a time when there are so many financial constraints on both the university and the state," Berry said. "All of the money going into the new facility is private donations and it won’t have any impact on state funds from the university, which is a wonderful thing."
Our athletic administration also reached out to philanthropists within the region who weren’t ULM graduates and weren’t affiliated with the university. It was significant for the athletic administration to reach out in a different direction to help get this done.”
In addition to a new locker room, the new end-zone facility will feature a Hall of Fame area as well as new coaches’ offices that will have patios overlooking JPS Field at Malone Stadium.
The facility will be constructed with footings and steel to add on a second floor for future expansion.
“I am excited for Coach Berry and the ULM football program,” said Wickstrom. “I think this project, coupled with the new FieldTurf, will be a big step towards maximizing the student-athlete experience. I want to thank the great ULM supporters and the Monroe community for supporting this project in such a short period of time.”
The athletic department has signed a contract with Land 3 Architect and the company is in process of the final designs and drawings. Once the final designs and drawings are complete, the final cost will be determined for the new facility.
“I commend Dr. Brian Wickstrom and his staff in connecting individuals to ULM in addressing a vision and need identified by Coach Berry when he arrived,” said ULM president, Dr. Nick J. Bruno. “That vision will soon become a reality.”
The athletic department will continue to fundraise for Phase I of the project as well as fundraise for Phase II which will feature weight room renovations, training room relocation/renovation and team room renovations.
There will also be opportunities for naming opportunities as part of the new endzone facility. The lockers in the new locker room will have naming rights as well as a brick campaign on the coaches’ patio. Information about those two naming opportunities will follow at a later date.
The new end-zone facility project will be the second recent upgrade to JPS Field at Malone Stadium.
Thanks to a $450,000 donation from JPS Aviation/JPS Equipment Rental, the Warhawk football team will be playing on brand new FieldTurf this season and it will be on full display on national television for the Aug. 28 showdown against Wake Forest on ESPNU.
The season-opener against the Demon Deacons will also be a Camo-Out and single-game tickets are on sale now at the ULM Tickets office.