In the summer of 2017, the Charles J. Strosacker Foundation gave Albion College a $500,000 donation intended to benefit the student-athlete experience at Albion. Part of the donation helped fund renovation to the weight room in the Dow Wellness and Recreation Center over the 2017-18 winter break.
Renovations included new ceiling and flooring, Olympic-style equipment and Britons athletic branding on the walls.
“The weight room was kind of the next piece of the puzzle that we needed to start paying attention to,” said Albion College Athletic Director Matt Arend. “Putting our student-athletes and teams in a position to compete, strength and conditioning was the one area we really haven’t touched as much as we would have liked.”
The puzzle Arend is referring to is the Davis Athletic Complex, which was completed in the spring of 2017. The project included a new turf soccer and lacrosse field; baseball field and softball field.
Arend added that the previous facilities were falling behind the MIAA standards. Of the $500,000 gift, about $150,000 went towards the weight room updates. Arend said that they raised another $5,000 from other gifts and selling off some of the old weight room equipment, but some of the usable equipment and machines went to the gym in Washington Gardner High School.
The rest of the money will go toward renovations for the locker rooms in the Dow. The football and baseball locker rooms will be redone this summer, and the large women’s locker room will be redone in the summer of 2019.
When those renovations are complete, Arend says the gift will mostly be used up, but he hopes to raise funds to renovate both the men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms, as well as the men’s soccer and softball locker room.
“Half a million [dollars] gets a lot done, but it doesn’t get all of our spaces done that we need to, so the idea is to get the locker rooms going, and a lot of places will do naming rights on the lockers,” Arend added.
One tactic of fundraising is giving alumni naming rights to lockers. For a certain amount of money, an alum can put their name on a locker or outside a locker room which will create additional funding for the other locker room projects.
Last year, the volleyball team had their locker room renovated via a private gift. Arend says that all of the locker rooms being redone under the Strosacker donation will have the same look and feel as the volleyball locker room.
Along with new weight room equipment, there will be a strength and conditioning coach for all sports starting this month. The coach will be an employee of Allegiance Health In Jackson and is contracted to work for Albion, according to Arend.
“Strength and conditioning was the area the coaches indicated that we needed the most help and started to get better at,” said Arend.
Photos courtesy of Albion Athletics.