New digs

| September 8, 2010 | 0 Comments
Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex

University of St. Thomas senior John Busch pumps iron Sept. 1 in his school’s new weight room, which is part of the $52 million Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex. Photo by Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

University of St. Thomas senior John Busch looked like a kid in a candy store recently when he entered a huge weight room on the St. Paul campus that is part of the new $52 million Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex. The complex opened Sept. 1 for use by students, staff and athletes.

It also includes a field house, gymnasium (which keeps the former Schoenecker Arena name), aquatic center, cardio area, aerobic rooms and locker rooms.

Busch bounced around various lifting stations, grabbing weights and pumping iron with gusto. The truth is, he’s been chomping at the bit to get his hands on the new equipment.

“It’s amazing, just beautiful,” said Busch, who formerly played football for the Tommies and now works with the team as a trainer. “This is the elite of [NCAA] Division III. There’s nothing better in Division III.”

Similar praise came from athletic director Steve Fritz, who will take his men’s basketball team into Schoenecker Arena for its opening practice next month. His tenure at St. Thomas stretches back to the 1960s, when he played basketball for St. Thomas. He will begin his 31st season as head coach on Oct. 15.

Schoenecker Arena

Members of the University of St. Thomas women's volleyball team practice in the new gym, which retains the Schoenecker Arena name. Photo by Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

“It’s just very exciting,” he said, of the new facility. “This is a great home for all of our varsity teams. It supports our effort to be one of the top programs in the nation in Division III.”

Construction on the 180,000-square-foot complex began in May 2009 and finished ahead of schedule, allowing it to open right before the start of the fall semester. It is named for Lee and Penny Anderson, who made a $60 million gift that helped fund the complex, plus two other projects — a parking facility on the south campus and a student center now under construction at the corner of Summit and Cretin Avenues. The center is scheduled to open in January 2012.

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