Niss Athletic Center slated to open late October

The+Niss+Athletic+Center+stands+tall+behind+the+AU+football+stadium%2C+and+will+invite+community+and+university+groups+alike+to+use+the+facilities+upon+its+completion.

The Collegian

The Niss Athletic Center stands tall behind the AU football stadium, and will invite community and university groups alike to use the facilities upon its completion.

Ben Voelker, Sports Editor

Construction on the new Niss Athletic Center is nearing completion and is set to open toward the end of October. 

Major new features within the center include an 80 yard football field, batting cages with nets that drop down from the ceiling and a 300 meter, six lane indoor track, including amenities for pole vault, long jump and netting for throwing events such as discus and shot put, which will provide a complete area for both indoor track practice and meets.

“We’re trying to find ways to maximize the facility,” Rick Ewing, Vice President of Operations and Planning at Ashland University said. “Beyond athletics, the band has expressed interest in using the field and we’re looking at using it to accommodate an indoor graduation or a student concert. I expect that place is going to be rocking 18 hours a day.”

Other notable features of the facility include seating for spectators, a conference room for coaches, an athletic trainers room, heated flooring and giant ceiling fans. Structurally, a corner of the facility will use a purple tinted glass wall to add a little bit of Ashland flare.

“What we wanted was that visibility into and out of it.” Ewing said. “It’s such a massive building, that if you make it too sparkly, it’s just going to dominate everything. So we just wanted to highlight that it was there with the purple glass.”

The Niss Athletic Center was scheduled to be completed towards the end of September, but due to weather conditions and supply delivery issues, the grand opening has been delayed by a month.

“Surprisingly, it’s been a very wet summer, which has prevented some of the work on the outside,” Ewing said. “But overall, we haven’t had any major hiccups or delays. It’s really turned out to be a phenomenal facility.”

Other athletic renovations around campus include some minor updates to the women’s basketball locker rooms, as well as the addition of artificial turf on Donges Field for the men’s baseball team.