In December 2013, Wake Forest Athletics embarked on the most ambitious fundraising initiative in our history. The project was the game-changing Sports Performance Complex and the fundraising goal was a jaw-dropping $68 million. The complex included the $21 million McCreary Field House, $34 million Sutton Sports Performance Center, which also included the renovated Doc Martin Practice Fields and the $13 million Basketball Player Development Center. Through the incredible generosity of our donors, in less than three years we have raised approximately $78 million for this all-important project.
Much has been documented about Bob McCreary’s recent $15 million gift, bringing his total contribution to the Sports Performance Complex to $27.5 million. This is in addition to Ben Sutton’s $15 million in gifts. These two incredibly generous alums and former student-athletes have inspired a generation of Wake Forest alums, friends and parents.
In total, 1,784 individuals joined Bob and Ben in this herculean effort that has the college athletic world taking notice of Wake Forest and the incredible generosity of our donors. A total of 53 individuals have contributed over $100,000 with 11 gifts over $1 million. An astonishing six gifts were over $2 million with one being $4 million and another being $5 million. It is inspiring that our generous donors care so deeply about our mission to Develop Champions.
On November 1, ground was officially broken on the 87,000 square-foot Sutton Sports Performance Center and 24,400 square-foot Basketball Player Development Center.
The Sutton Sports Performance Center, named for former “mic man”, Wake Forest Trustee and sports marketer extraordinaire, Ben Sutton, will feature a state-of-the-art strength and conditioning area that will include both weight rooms and cardio areas, dedicated space for enhancing the nutrition of Wake Forest student-athletes and will house football and men’s and women’s basketball coaches’ offices and team meeting areas.
The Basketball Player Development Center will enable the men’s and women’s basketball programs to avoid scheduling issues that make sharing one facility challenging. Connecting the Sutton Sports Performance Center to the Miller Center, the Basketball Player Development Center will feature an additional regulation court that allows space to run the baseline as well as access to on-campus strength and conditioning facilities dedicated to men’s and women’s basketball.
Construction on these facilities will occur concurrently and they are expected to be completed in the summer of 2018.
This dramatic facility buildout will place Wake Forest in a position to have some of the best facilities in the country in order to attract the nation’s most talented student-athletes. Furthermore, not only will we attract these talented student-athletes, but our facilities will allow us to retain and further develop them in the pursuit of championships.
With championships comes my favorite tradition of rolling the Quad and I am ecstatic to say that it is now finally time to stock up and get ready to roll because there is an incredibly bright future ahead of us.
(Note: This article was originally published in the November/December 2016 issue of Gold Rush.)