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SPM News Extra: $30 million project will greatly modernize Wayne State College facilities in Northeast Nebraska

Wayne State U sports additions
A new sports facilities addition is underway at Wayne State College, in Wayne, Nebraska, as shown in this February 2024 submitted rendering.

Some big things are happening on the Wayne State College campus in Wayne, Nebraska, when it comes to athletic facilities. Wayne State for a long time has been an NCAA Division II level program in athletics, with teams that play in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

The college with an enrollment of 4,800 students is underway with a $30 million dollar project to modernize athletic facilities, since some of them are showing age.

The highlights include a new air-supported structure with an indoor track and turf field and renovations to Rice Auditorium and the Recreation Center.

When the launch of the project was announced in September 2023, Wayne State College President Maryz Rames said it had been several years in the making, and able to be carried out due to the financial support of numerous donors.

Wayne State Athletic Director Mike Powicki said he’s very enthused about the project, and gave Siouxland Public Media an update. He said when the work is done, Wayne State will have an aesthetically pleasing, multi-purpose facility that will be the envy of many institutions in Nebraska.

Powicki said one of the reasons for the additions is that there wasn’t enough space for teams, because several overlap seasons and share spaces. Additionally, a space utilization study showed that very distinct needs.

The project includes four main pieces, with two of those being existing buildings getting renovated and expanded, plus two fully new pieces built in open spaces between existing structures.

What’s coming is not just for the athletes on teams, but the Wellness Center used by so many people on campus will be modernized.

Rice Auditorium, which dates to 1958 and houses the gymnasium for basketball and volleyball, will get improvements to better the experience of Wildcat fans, through a larger concessions and ticketing area, plus new bathrooms.

In the Recreation Center that is being renovated, the facility built in the 1980s with racquetball courts, cardio equipment, student weight room, and offices will get new flooring, add more exercise rooms and courts, and convert more space into classrooms.

Powicki said Wayne officials have benefitted from some good weather conditions in early 2024, as aside from a two-week blast of snow, the winter had been mild, so crews could make headway.

Most of the work inside the Recreation Center will not begin until this summer once classes are out. Timeline wise, things are roughly half way through the planned construction schedule with the Wayne State College project, with total completion estimated for January 2025.