The Northwestern State Athletic Department took another pivotal step Monday toward making its Sports Performance Center a reality.
Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, the official health care partner for NSU Athletics, further strengthened its commitment to Demon athletics by pledging $500,000 toward the undertaking that will usher in a new era of NSU athletic performance. NRMC Chief Executive Officer Kirk Soileau announced the commitment at a luncheon hosted for NSU coaches and administrators in the Listach Conference Room at Natchitoches Regional Medical Center.
“This major gift reflects the continuing commitment of the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center to the enhancement of the university and the overall progress of the community and region,” Northwestern State Interim President Dr. Marcus Jones said. “Northwestern has been strengthened by its partnership with NRMC and sincerely appreciates its generosity and support.”
The half-million dollar donation from NRMC pushes the total of privately funded donations for the project to nearly $1 million with other private gifts and funding sources anticipated to be secured in the next several months.
The announcement of the gift comes nearly six years to the day after Natchitoches Regional Medical Center entered into an agreement to become the official health care provider for NSU Athletics. Since then, the two parties have extended the initial four-year agreement with NRMC re-confirming its commitment with Monday’s presentation.
“We want to make sure we demonstrate our resolve to sports medicine, to be a true partner to the university,” Soileau said. “With the support of our board and our entire organization, NRMC is pleased to make this pledge to what will be called the NRMC Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Pavilion. We want that facility to be an extension of the services we provide today.”
NSU Director of Athletics Greg Burke expressed gratitude to NRMC on behalf of the athletic department’s coaches, staff and student-athletes.
“The Natchitoches Regional Medical Center is appreciated for its generous commitment to this project which underscores the value it places on student-athlete welfare and success,” Burke said. “This gift further solidifies what has been and continues to be a growing partnership between NRMC and NSU Athletics and especially its supportive and invested CEO, Kirk Soileau.”
The sprawling strength and conditioning facility, which will be constructed on the back end of the Athletic Fieldhouse, will include a new 11,600 square foot weight room with space for more than 100 student-athletes, a 25-foot artificial turf pad, a new nutrition center, student-athlete lounge area and offices for the strength staff.
The second phase of the project will convert the current weight room into a high-tech rehabilitation center along with other sports medicine upgrades.
The third phase will be the renovation of the current “Eugene Christmas Training Room.”
“It is exciting to see momentum for this transformational project continue to grow,” Burke said. “Having a strength and conditioning center that will be the best among Southland Conference members, past and present, will be a game changer on the recruiting front and in the everyday lives of our student-athletes and coaches.”
NSU Vice President for External Affairs Jerry Pierce, NSU Interim President Dr. Marcus Jones, NRMC Chief Executive Officer Kirk Soileau, NSU Director of Athletics Greg Burke, NRMC Board of Commissioners Chairman Ronald Corkern and NRMC Board of Commissioners member Mike Newton pose with the artist’s rendering of the NSU Sports Performance Center.
Photo: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services
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