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Trustees OK DePauw athletic facilities plan, receive $5 million gift

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Artist's rendering of expansion of Lilly Center facilities on DePauw University campus.
DePauw University has received the first major gift toward its comprehensive athletics and recreation master plan, which was approved Friday by the Board of Trustees, President Brian W. Casey has announced.

The master plan, which calls for a series of phased improvements to the Lilly Center and athletic fields, is designed to provide a road map for DePauw's investments in athletic and recreational facilities over coming years.

A $5 million commitment from M. Scott and Kimberlee A. Welch, as the lead gift on the Lilly Center project, will provide for construction of the M. Scott and Kimberlee A. Welch Fitness Center.

The initial phase of the Lilly Center plan calls for a 36,000-square-foot expansion, including a new 16,000-square-foot fitness center.

"The strength of a college like DePauw is providing a total student experience," said Scott Welch, a 1982 DPU graduate who also provided a $1.5 million gift toward enhancements to DePauw's new Anderson Street entrance and to the recently completed renovation of the Emison Museum into the university's Office of Admission and Financial Aid.

Scott Welch
"The gifts of others made it possible for me to attend DePauw," Welch said, "and with their support, I came to appreciate the combination of strong academics and leadership opportunities inherent to athletics that is a hallmark of DePauw."

Additional fundraising efforts, currently under way, will support a 15,000-square-foot renovation of existing space in the Lilly Center, allowing for enhancements to varsity locker rooms, office space and the development of a kinesiology program laboratory.

Proposed renovations will also create multipurpose spaces for group fitness classes, a new campus entrance to the facility, and a student lounge. In total, initial Lilly Center enhancements will impact 51,000 square feet of space.

"Scott and Kim Welch care deeply about our students and this gift further underlines their commitment to our campus," President Casey said. "This university is blessed to be able to count them among its strongest supporters, and I am deeply thankful for what they continue to do for DePauw."

Stevie Baker-Watson, DPU director of athletics and recreation, seconded that.

"This generous gift is a bold demonstration of DePauw's commitment to providing first-rate athletics facilities for our students, faculty and staff," she said. "On behalf of our student-athletes, I extend my sincere thanks to Scott and Kim. Their support sends a signal to our prospective students, our current students, and our alumni that athletics and fitness is a priority in the student experience on our campus."

Additional enhancements called for in the athletics and recreation plan include installation of synthetic turf on the football field, replacement of the track surrounding the field, the addition of a field events area for track and field (adjacent to the intramural fields at the far west side of the athletic campus) and construction of a multi-purpose competition venue for soccer and lacrosse south of Hanna Street.

The plan -- developed with the assistance of Hastings Chivetta, a leading athletic facilities architectural firm -- also calls for a number of sequential enhancements to Blackstock Stadium and to improve tennis, field hockey, golf, softball and baseball facilities.

Upon completion of initial Lilly Center enhancements, the plan also calls for construction of a dedicated competition space for basketball and volleyball and, eventually, a larger 50-meter pool for swimming and diving.

Scott Welch, a member of the university Board of Trustees, is the CEO of Welch Packaging Group Inc. As a student at DePauw, Welch received a BA in psychology and was a four-year letterman in football and golf.

Welch currently serves on the board of directors of Lakeland Financial and Lake City Bank.

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Just once in a while I would like to read about multi million dollar donations to schools to improve their EDUCATIONAL programs, as opposed to sports facilities. If were paying that much to send my kid to college, I want them with their nose in books and working towards increasing their chances of getting a good job as opposed to lifting weights like a mindless robot on running on a treadmill like a hamster, or risking serious injury in group sports or the fights or bullying that often takes place after games.

Reading this makes Depauw sound more like a country club then someplace I would send my kid to learn.

-- Posted by Heron on Thu, Oct 11, 2012, at 12:25 AM

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