The University of Toledo unveiled plans yesterday for the renovation of the Larimer Athletic Complex, the home of the UT football program, as well as the Rocket Academic Center.Highlights of the renovation will include an upgraded academic center that will be used by all student-athletes; an enhanced locker room area; a larger, more modern weight room; updated offices; and new coaches’ meeting rooms.
In addition, a dynamic new entryway will be built on the east side of the building.
Construction is scheduled to begin in February and be completed before the beginning of football training camp in August.
Total cost for the renovation will be approximately $5 million, all of which will come from private funding.
Nearly $3 million of that total has been raised, according to UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. Major gifts have been pledged by Chuck and Jackie Sullivan, as well as by Roy and Marcia Armes, along with many others.
“We are very thankful for the generosity of supporters like the Sullivans and Armes and others who are committed to the success of our student-athletes,” O’Brien said. “Their donations will allow us to create a new Larimer Athletic Center that will be a point of pride for The University of Toledo. Once the renovation is completed, all of our student-athletes will benefit from the enhancement of our Rocket Academic Center. In addition, our football program will gain a top-quality facility to call home.”
UT President Lloyd Jacobs added that the academic success of student-athletes helped motivate donors to contribute to the project. Rocket student-athletes have had the highest grade-point average in the Mid-American Conference in each of the past two years.
“The commitment by the Athletic Department to academics is further emphasized in this new Larimer Athletic Complex design,” Jacobs said. “During the past few years, coaches and student-athletes have worked harder and had more success in the classroom even as they excel on the playing field. I think it is this sort of excellence UT donors recognize when they generously give to make projects like this possible.”
The Larimer renovation project, which is part of UT’s “A University Rising” capital campaign, is the latest in a series of recent improvements and additions to Rocket athletic facilities. In 2008, a $30 million renovation of Savage Arena and construction of the Sullivan Athletic Complex was completed. In 2010, the Fetterman Training Center, an indoor practice facility, made its debut.
The Larimer Athletic Complex originally opened in 1990 as part of the Glass Bowl renovation project. It is named after Frank and Hazel Larimer, whose lead gift paved the way for construction of the new building.
Highlights of the Larimer renovation will include:
• Expanded Rocket Academic Center that will feature additional work space for student-athletes, new tutoring rooms and offices for academic advisers;
• New entryway into the building that will feature floor-to-ceiling graphics;
• New field entrance that will allow the Rockets to enter the field from beneath the scoreboard;
• Remodeled weight room that will be enlarged to more than double its current size;
• New layout of the locker room that will improve its functionality and state-of-the-art lockers;
• Players’ lounge adjacent to the locker room;
• Staff meeting room for coaches; and
• Lounge for coaches to meet with recruits.