At his "State of the University" address on Thursday afternoon, Marquette University President Dr. Michael Lovell made a number of announcements, but only one that matters to a blog that covers Marquette University athletics.
As part of the speech, Dr. Lovell announced that the recently purchased property located in the 800 block of W. Michigan Street will be turned into an athletic performance facility that will benefit students, student-athletes, Marquette faculty, and local professional athletes. According to athletic director Bill Scholl on 540 AM last night, the new facility will contain locker room and athletic training space for all of the teams (men's & women's soccer, men's & women's track & field, men's & women's cross country, men's golf, men's & women's tennis) that are currently housed in Marquette Gym. The key point here is that the facility will contain playing surfaces for both men's and women's soccer and men's and women's lacrosse as well as track and field.
Part of the facility will be devoted to what the university refers to as "a world-class athletic performance research facility," which is where the professional athletes part comes in. This is the part of the building where Marquette will be partnering with the Milwaukee Bucks to allow for both faculty and student research in sports performance, medicine, nutrition and rehabilitation. It's still not completely clear as to what level of involvement that the Bucks will have in the building, but I think it's a pretty significant moment that a professional franchise is partnering with a local university for a project of this magnitude.
While it's an added bonus that MU's soccer and track & field programs will have an indoor facility to use for training, it's the lacrosse angle that's particularly important. At the conclusion of this upcoming third season, Marquette men's lacrosse will have played just 10 home games in program history, with only five of them coming to Milwaukee of their own volition as opposed to the schedule laid out by the Big East. A fieldhouse facility such as the one announced by Dr. Lovell will allow both men's lacrosse head coach Joe Amplo and women's lacrosse head coach Meredith Black the ability to schedule early February home games, as the matches will be able to be played indoors at the yet to be named fieldhouse.
In addition to the intercollegiate athletics aspect of the building, AD Scholl confirmed in his radio appearance that the building will also be available for general student use as part of the recreational sports department. While it's a great boon for Marquette's teams to practice indoors during inclement weather, it's also fantastic that the rest of the student population will be able to use the building for flag football and the like during the winter months as well.
You can read the press release on Dr. Lovell's speech here for the full details of everything that he talked about.