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Reprinted from: Green Bay Press-Gazette

November 2, 2005

Kress Events Center to rise from Phoenix athletic facility

By Kelly McBride

In what likely is a sign of things to come at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, officials and students broke ground Tuesday on a $32.5 million renovation and expansion of the Phoenix Sports Center.

The project, scheduled for completion in fall 2007, probably won't be the end of facilities projects and landscape changes at UWGB. With Chancellor Bruce Shepard's plan to grow the campus by more than 2,000 students during the next six years, and the campus master plan in its final stages of development, things could look quite different for the Phoenix classes of tomorrow.

For now, however, many at UWGB are excited about what the new sports center will bring whether or not you're a Phoenix athlete.

"I think overall, one of the first strong statements that it will make is just a sense of pride that they'll have in the new facility itself," said UWGB athletic director Ken Bothof. "From a student-athlete's standpoint, facilities say a lot about how a university perceives athletics."

But priorities of students who aren't athletes also will be addressed, Bothof said, by a facility that will allow more seating for indoor graduation, as well as a concert venue and a workout facility. Pending approval from the UW System Board of Regents, the facility will be renamed the Kress Events Center.

The renovated sports center is being financed by a combination of student money, $15 million from student fees; state funding, $7.5 million; and private donors, $10 million.

Private donations have played a key role in making the renovations a reality, said UWGB senior Nathan Petrashek, president of UWGB's Student Government Association. Those gifts make clear the relationship between the university and the community, he added.

University officials hope the new center will enhance the connection between the campus and the larger community, said Dean Rodeheaver, assistant chancellor for planning and budget.

Although the Phoenix Sports Center renovations initially didn't stem from the campus master plan, they have influenced it, Rodeheaver added.

"The two kind of went hand in hand," he said. "And obviously with something as large as the sports center, you have to look (at) how it fits into the campus. The way it developed, they kind of informed each other."

University officials anticipate a finished master plan by late this month or early December.

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