Shenandoah University Announces Name of New Building
29 April 2017 News
Shenandoah University is proud to announce its newest campus facility will be named the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletics & Events Center.
Shenandoah University’s Board of Trustees on April 26 approved the naming of the 77,000-square-foot indoor athletic facility, which will serve the university’s 21 athletics teams, the entire university community and the local and regional communities.
One of the university’s most ardent supporters, James R. “Jimmy” Wilkins, Jr. is a member of the university’s board of trustees and co-chair of the Athletics & Events Center Steering Committee. Wilkins’ father, James R. Wilkins, Sr., was chairman of the College Project Committee which pushed for university’s move to Winchester in 1960, and served as chairman of the board of trustees for almost 30 years.
“Jimmy Wilkins and the entire Wilkins family have been steadfast supporters of Shenandoah University since the move to Winchester in 1960 – support that spans three generations over the course of more than five decades,” said President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D. “We are thrilled for the opportunity to honor Jimmy and his family in this way, especially considering tomorrow is Jimmy’s birthday.”
The final push of the public fundraising campaign for the James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletics & Events Center is currently underway with the the primary focus on the $500,000 anonymous donor challenge to enable the university to name the center’s basketball court in memory of former Athletics Director and Head Men’s Basketball Coach Dave Dutton and his wife, Kathy Dutton. Donors can also donate a gift for the naming rights to a locker ($1,000) or a seat in the basketball and volleyball arena ($500).
Located next to Shentel Stadium, the student-first facility will benefit each of the university’s 480 student-athletes and vault Shenandoah into the top tier of indoor athletic facilities in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. The new facility will be the physical manifestation of Shenandoah Athletics’ “21 sports, one team” motto, offering both athletes and spectators an improved Hornets Athletics experience.
“The new Athletics and Events Center will stand as a home for me and my team,” said sophomore cross country and track & field team member Justin Mehrer. “The building will further ignite the passion and competitive drive within teams under its umbrella, which will be increasingly felt for years from the prospects and talent it will attract. We are so thankful to Mr. Wilkins and his very generous gift to the students of Shenandoah University.”
“The Athletics & Events Center is important to me because it gives my team the opportunity to have year-round locker rooms, three full courts, and high ceilings, which will enhance our volleyball experience and make games and practice more enjoyable,” said sophomore volleyball team member Caylin Harris. “It is also a great opportunity to have multiple sports practicing at once, which currently isn’t an option. I’m excited for this building to bring the teams and the community closer together, and we can’t thank Mr. Wilkins enough for his efforts to make this building a reality.”
The facility will also be the largest events center facility within at least a 60- to 70-mile radius of Winchester. Special attention to lighting, acoustics and sound was paid during the design process, in order to maximize the facility’s use as an events venue for the university and the community at large.