Alum gift to fund Graham Building

Cooper Josephs, Assistant News Editor

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CORRECTION:  John Hardt’s quote should read:
“The Department will be able to respond to student and faculty/staff
requests for more Group Fitness classes by re-configuring and expanding
our current exercise studio space on the second floor of the fieldhouse.”

 

A new campus building adjacent to Sojka Pavilion doubling as a wellness center and wrestling center will open its doors in spring 2016. The building’s origins were influenced by a generous endowment by Bill Graham ’62. Graham donated over $7 million in support of the building.

Upon its completion, the Graham building will become “one of the best practice facilities in Division I wrestling,” John Hardt, director of Athletics and Recreation, said.

“I was really excited to hear about the new facility. It made me feel like Bucknell would certainly be a great place for me to achieve both my academic and athletic goals,” wrestler Collin Boylan ’18 said.

The new Graham Building is expected to enhance the wrestling program. Its promise to be a state-of-the-art facility with up-to-date equipment has already been important in recruitment.

“[The Graham Building] played a huge role in my decision to wrestle here at Bucknell … I feel like the building will greatly benefit us,” Boylan said.

Head wrestling coach Dan Wirnsberger believes the Graham building will have a holistic benefit to the team.

“Not only will a new, larger practice facility provide a great training environment for skill development and fitness, but it will enhance our overall team culture and the student-athlete experience,” Wirnsberger said.

“While it has been finalized the first floor of the 36,000-square-foot facility will hold the wellness center and the second floor will hold the wrestling center, the building’s interior blueprints have yet to be finalized. The first floor will hold the Bucknell Health Center, the Counseling and Student Development Center—Psychological Services’ new name—and extra space for Group Fitness classes,” Hardt said.

“We are excited because it will be a new building for us … our offices will also be in a more convenient location for both students and staff members to access,” said Jacqueline Miller, operations manager of Bucknell Student Health (BSH).

According to Miller, the building will be spacious with large windows for natural light. Current electronic systems and BSH are expected to remain the same. Graham has a long history of supporting University athletics.

“Bill Graham has made substantial gifts to Bucknell earmarked toward the endowment of women’s varsity programs and the construction of Graham Field for field hockey and women’s lacrosse,” Hardt said. “We are humbled and honored by this most recent gift.”

The current wrestling room in the Gerhard Fieldhouse is decades old, receiving no attention during the 1995 and 2007 renovation projects. It was not long after the reinstitution of the wrestling program’s varsity status in 2006-07 that it was recognized a new wrestling facility was needed.

“The current facility lacks modern climate control/HVAC systems and space for evolving training methods,” Wirnsberger said.

The new wrestling room will equalize locker room availability; the wrestling program is currently the only Division I varsity program on campus without a set locker room space, Wirnsberger said.

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