WAYNE – From new hires to facility projects, the Wayne State Athletic department is putting in the final work entering the 2022 fall sports season.
It’s been a busy summer full of projects in and outside the athletic facilities.
Director of Athletics, Mike Powicki started with the Rice Auditorium stage conversion into the club space.
“A lot of the heavy work has been done,” said Powicki. “All of the metal studs are up that kind of enclose the space from the top down and that little half-wall that’s being built across the front to kind of encapsulate it all in. It’s all framed up on the inside, the storage space, the restroom that we’re going to be building up there is all in. So, they’re into putting up dry wall.”
A lot of the major work was completed early on in the process including painting the entire inside of Rice Auditorium to brighten up the facility overall.
The Rice Auditorium floor was recently uncovered in preparation for the Wayne State College volleyball camp.
Finishing touches include the carpet as well as plumbing. The goal is to have the project completely finished and be a usable space by the first home volleyball match of Friday, September 9 vs. Concordia-St. Paul at 6 p.m. and Saturday, September 10 at 1 p.m. hosting Minnesota State-Mankato.
The WSC soccer field has been transitioned from grass to an artificial surface for both women’s soccer and WSC women’s and men’s rugby.
There was also a seven-foot grade difference from the southwest corner to the northeast corner with the different layers of rock and drainage system being installed.
Powicki added it’s been a goal of the athletic department as women’s and men’s rugby now report through the Director of Athletics office for the elevated club sports programs.
“They’ve had their fields off-site and didn’t really make sense for our students having to drive down there to practice and compete,” Powicki added. “Although I know there’s a lot of pride that goes with those facilities and their clubhouse and some of those things they have down there. Obviously, with the residential housing project that’s going in down in that area it just became a point where those fields are getting repurposed and so we really needed to bring them on campus. That was also one of the supporting reasons we were able to kind of identify the funding to make it an artificial turf surface.”
With an exhibition game slated to be played at Memorial Stadium on August 20, the goal is to host the first regular season home women’s soccer match on the new artificial turf against Northwest Missouri State on Friday, August 26 at 3 p.m.
A three-phase project will total $26.5 million in an athletic/recreation facility addition as well as renovation.
“We’re really looking at a two and a half year construction project,” Powicki mentioned. “We’re still trying to work through the details of that based on what our general contractor, Hausman Construction, feels is the best way to mobilize and contain costs. Most certainly the plan is phase one will be coming out of the ground of Spring of 2023.”
The first big phase will feature the air supported structed north of the Recreation Center which will include a 300-meter track and artificial turf.
Phase two will focus on the alley way, the vacant space between the Rec Center and Rice Auditorium to make the usable space a connection point from the east to the west side of the WSC Athletic facilities along with the renovation process inside the Rec Center.
Phase three will then revamp the Rice Auditorium lobby and the indoor athletic complex transitioning from turf to an auxiliary/practice wooden floor.
WSC women’s soccer and volleyball teams are reporting a week early due to a festival year for Division II athletics with football following shortly.
WSC women’s soccer will open with a road exhibition on Wednesday, August 17 at Midland University in Fremont; Wildcat volleyball will begin their indoor season in Garden City, New York from Thursday, August 25 – Friday, August 26; Wayne State College women’s and men’s cross country will be in Sioux Falls, South Dakota during the Augustana Twilight Invite on Friday, September 2; Wayne State football will open their season on Saturday, September 3 at University of Mary as the WSC women’s golf team will take part in the Central Region Preview from Tuesday, September 6 – Wednesday, September 7 in Blue Springs, Missouri.