The planned renovation and expansion of Chadron State College’s Armstrong Physical Education Building got a major boost Monday when Gov. Dave Heineman signed the main state budget bills that included $6.7 million for the facility.
“This is a great day for Chadron State College and the Nebraska State College System,” said Dr. Janie Park, CSC president. “I am extremely thankful that Gov. Dave Heineman, Sen. Lavon Heidemann, Sen. John Harms and the rest of the Legislature are making this investment in the future of our state.”
The $6.7 million marks the largest single legislative appropriation in history for a facilities project at CSC. The cost of both the Nelson Physical Activity Center construction and the renovation of Old Admin were each $4.7 million
Heidemann and Harms co-sponsored the bill, which also includes $7.5 million for the Oak Bowl football stadium at Peru State College, also a member of the Nebraska State College System.
The bill was passed by the Legislature on March 27 and forwarded to Heineman for approval. Also approved by the governor Monday was LB 994, the State Colleges Sport Facilities Cash Fund. That measure provides a consistent funding source for future renovation and construction for NSCS sports facilities.
Although the appropriation for the Armstrong project is about half of the $13.7 million originally proposed by Heidemann and Harms, it will be enough to get the project moving. Dale Grant, CSC vice president for administration and finance, said the approval of the bill allows the institution to begin setting firm dates for construction, which may begin as soon as spring of 2013.
The appropriation to CSC requires a $2 million match from CSC. The Armstrong project was a major component of Vision 2011, the Chadron State Foundation’s first-ever multi-million-dollar fundraising campaign which wrapped up last fall. The $11 million campaign also included provisions for endowments and the foundation’s annual fund.
The other major capital project of Vision 2011 – the construction of the Rangeland Complex for CSC’s rangeland management and other agriculture programs – is also moving forward, as administrators plan the first phase of construction.
According to the plans, most of the existing Armstrong Building, which opened in 1964, will be retained, with the new construction adjoining the existing facility to the south. The building serves as headquarters for CSC’s NCAA Division II sports programs, including offices, weight training, the home court for the basketball and volleyball teams, and locker rooms for football.
The upgrade and expansion is expected to greatly enhance experiences for CSC’s athletes and other students. In addition to a new arena, the plan includes space for classrooms, offices for athletic and sports medicine staff, locker rooms, concessions, ticket sales and storage.
—Justin Haag, CSC Information Services