A groundbreaking ceremony was held this week for stadium renovation and the Whitney Athletic Center at the University of Delaware.
The projects are a part of the $60 million Build Our Home fundraising initiative for athletics, which is one of the priorities of the three-quarters of a billion dollar Delaware First: The Campaign for the University of Delaware.
The Whitney Athletic Center, which will be completed by the summer of 2020, will provide academic support and athletic training for student-athletes. The center will be named for UD alumnus and Board of Trustees member Kenneth C. Whitney, Class of 1980, and his wife, Elizabeth K. Whitney, in recognition of cornerstone gift of $10 million.
The Whitneys said a strong athletics program is integral to the unique student experience offered by UD.
“We are proudto support the Blue Hens of today and tomorrow through the building of a new athletic center,” Ken Whitney said. “We are excited in knowing the multiple ways this facility will enhance the student-athlete experience at the university for years to come, as westrongly believe in the positive impact athletics can have across an entire university community and beyond.”
Last November, when the Delaware First campaign was launched publicly, the project was 80 percent toward its goal. The project, at last report, is 95 percent of the way toward its fundraising goal.
Today was inspiring.
We broke ground on the Whitney Athletic Center and a renovated Delaware Stadium.
— #BlueHens (@UDBlueHens) December 18, 2018
“Now that we’re in the final stretch of fundraising, we need the UD community to help us over the finish line,” University of Delaware President Dennis Assanis said. “Our student-athletes depend on our support, and I am confident that we will succeed in reaching our goal.”
The Athletic Department will release ticket and parking information for current and new football season ticket members in January. The completion of the west side stands and the press box is set for the fall of 2019. The Whitney Athletic Center will be completed by the summer of 2020.
Over the years, the university had looked at upgrading athletic facilities or even building a new stadium at the nearby STAR Campus. However, a soft economy and students not mentioning athletics as a big reason for coming to UD delayed such efforts.
At the same time, other schools in the Mid Atlantic were upgrading athletic facilities, putting the university at a disadvantage in attracting student-athletes.