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Homecoming dedication celebrates $1.5 million addition to the PERC

One of the premier athletic training facilities in NCAA Division III athletics is in full swing at Manchester University, newly opened and conveniently adjacent to two sizeable classrooms with $30,000 of the latest teaching technology.

“This gives our undergraduate and graduate students in athletic training the best facilities,” said Professor Mark Huntington ’76, chair of the Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences and director of Manchester’s master’s program in athletic training. The $1.5 million addition and upgrading of the Physical Education and Recreation Center (PERC) includes new locker room facilities, a new arena floor and cardiovascular equipment.

Student-athletes, alumni and donors will dedicate the addition during Homecoming, at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 23.

Shortly afterward, Spartans will flood the area to prepare for their 1:30 p.m. kickoff with Hanover College. They can stretch out in twice as many taping stations, additional exercise space, a separate whirlpool room – a totally remodeled area focused squarely on athletic training and the student-athlete. The exercise physiology lab also has $20,000 in new equipment.

“We’ve doubled the space of our athletic training facilities, increasing capacity to treat student-athletes,” said Huntington. The updates enable the athletic training staff and athletic training students to attend to several student-athletes at once, using new electrical stimulation and infrared heating machines and new warm-cold hydrotherapy stations.

The carpeted dividable classroom has a sound system and huge “smart” touch screens and PC tablets. Classes in Exercise and Sport Sciences fill the new learning areas.

Adjacent is a 120-locker room, with ample room for linebackers and bulky equipment, and with a movable wall to enable two teams to use the area at the same time. “What a difference this is going to make, to the football program especially,” noted Huntington. Air conditioning and double the number of shower facilities enhance the fresh, new space.

Before, five sports jockeyed for room in three much-smaller locker rooms. In one room, 30 football players were shoulder-to-shoulder – and separate from the rest of the team.

“All football players now will be in the same space,” said Athletic Director Rick Espeset. “The value is huge from a team standpoint.

“This new building will touch every student-athlete,” added Espeset, head baseball coach and instructor of exercise and sport sciences. “We’ll never have to displace one of our athletes for a game day.” Manchester student-athletes compete in 19 intercollegiate sports. The College also offers a full intramural program.

The project included resurfacing the Stauffer-Wolfe Arena and upgrades to cardiovascular training equipment in Brown Fitness Center.