The new complex is part of an overall plan to expand student recreation, health and welfare. (Courtesy of Samford University)

Samford University, a private college in Birmingham, Alabama, in the suburb of Homewood, has announced that it will embark on the largest capital project in the school’s history by building a new recreation complex and $65 million sportsman.

To achieve this, Samford will expand and renovate existing buildings to create a world-class campus center designed to provide students and employees with more opportunities to improve their physical fitness and mental well-being, as well as new spaces for campus events and student gatherings.

Additional facilities will provide new training and practice spaces for the university’s 17 Division I sports teams.

Construction, which is expected to begin in early 2023, includes investments in four separate buildings totaling 154,000 square feet:

  • The current Seibert Hall will be completely redesigned to include two basketball courts, a new multi-purpose court, studios for fitness classes, an esports studio, dance studios, modern weight and cardio equipment, a zone cross-training and commons. gathering spaces for students, with a lounge area, a café and a 24-hour convenience store.
  • Bashinsky Field House will also be completely renovated to become a dedicated facility for Samford student-athletes. It will have new team training spaces and dedicated training spaces for the men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball programs.
  • A third building will be constructed adjacent to Seibert Hall and will encompass an additional 20,000 square feet of recreation and event space. The new facility will have an indoor suspended track, additional basketball courts and cardio spaces, a sound system and staging to host on-campus events, a catering kitchen, a covered outdoor sports area, a pedestrian walkway and a Covered balcony that overlooks Bobby Bowden Field, the college’s football stadium.
  • The first floor of the Dwight and Lucille Beeson Center, located directly across from the complex, will also be renovated to serve as the new headquarters for the university’s health center and counseling services.

Cumulatively, the quartet of new and improved buildings will not only improve student well-being and life on campus, Samford officials said, but will hopefully help recruit and retain future students and students- athletes.

“This project represents a substantial investment in the health and well-being of our students,” noted Samford President Beck A. Taylor. “We are committed to supporting our students in their educational and spiritual journeys, and we also want to support them in their physical and mental well-being. This new facility will enhance life on campus and provide spaces for students to gather, do exercise, socialize and participate in many recreational activities.”

Taylor added that Samford students prefer to lead healthy lifestyles and the university is committed to providing them with the opportunities to do so.

“From fitness and recreation to counseling and health services, this facility will meet the mental, physical and spiritual needs of students,” he explained.

An additional $20 million needs to be raised

The university is funding $45 million of the project with current resources and is working to secure $20 million in philanthropic donations.

Hoar Construction and Davis Architects of Birmingham partnered with Samford to design and build the complex. If all goes according to plan, the new campus center should be completed before the start of the fall 2024 semester.

A leading Christian university, Samford offers liberal arts-based undergraduate programs with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, the school is the 87th oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.

Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: Arts, Arts and Sciences, Business, Divinity, Education, Health Professions, Law, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Public Health. Its athletic teams partake in the rich tradition of the Southern Conference and rank third nationally in graduation pass rate among all NCAA Division I schools.

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