University of Arkansas Builds Up Athletics, Academics

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A new building designed to support the University of Arkansas’ 460 student athletes will soon debut on the school’s Fayetteville campus. The new 55,000-square-foot Student Athlete Success Center will balance academic support spaces with facilities to help improve students’ health and athletic performance.

The center, estimated to cost up to $23 million, will address the academic, nutritional, personal and professional development of all student athletes, creating an integrated academic support program focused on student-athlete graduation, according to a statement by the university. It will become the new home of the Bogle Academic Center and will provide multiple learning environments, including academic advising and course preparation, leadership training through the Razorback Leadership Academy career planning and service learning.

A large portion of the new facility will be dedicated to tutoring spaces. Eleven large tutoring rooms will be available for gatherings of six to eight students, while 20 smaller study rooms will accommodate groups of two to four students. An estimated 5,000 square feet of open study and lounge space will also be included, as well as large and small computer labs. Twenty-five offices will be included for staff and academic counselors, and a 150-seat auditorium will host Razorback Leadership Academy events, seminars, guest speakers and other presentations. The facility’s dining hall and full-service kitchen will have a capacity of 250, and an on-site wellness area will include space for staff nutritionists, psychologists and other student athlete development professionals.

“Not only will this facility impact these student athletes while they are here on this campus, but it will impact them the rest of their lives,” said Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long at the facility’s groundbreaking ceremony.

The center will feature the Razorbacks’ trademark cardinal red throughout, along with white and black accents and a variety of natural textures and materials. In addition to wood-lined accent walls and river rock, glass and metal railings will be included along stairwells and open, multi-level spaces. Floor-to-ceiling window expanses in several highly trafficked areas, such as the dining room and entryway, will introduce natural light to the space.

The facility received a high-profile boost in January from former Razorback football player Jerry Jones and wife Gene Jones, owners of the Dallas Cowboys football team. The two donated more than $10 million to the project, which was subsequently named the Jerry and Gene Jones Family Student-Athlete Success Center.

“The Jerry and Gene Jones Family Student-Athlete Success Center will serve as inspiration to all current and future Razorback student athletes, reminding them of the limitless opportunities available when they combine a degree from a nationally respected institution with the invaluable experiences gained through competing in intercollegiate athletics at the University of Arkansas,” Long said in a statement.

University trustees approved construction of the Student-Athlete Success Center in September 2012. WD&D of Little Rock, Ark., together with Heery International Inc. of Atlanta, designed the success center. VCC of Little Rock, Ark., is constructing the facility, which will likely be completed by late summer or early fall in 2015. Designers expect the center to earn LEED Silver or Green Globes’ Two Globes certification.