As Miami University works on the acquisition of the former Talawanda High School building, Director of Club Sports and Training Mike Arnos is preparing a proposal to turn the back complex of the school grounds into an additional workout facility, primarily for club sports.
Arnos said he wants to utilize the track, fields and the 2500-square-foot field house for weights and other performance equipment. He does not intend to equip the field house with cardio equipment.
“Anytime we try to get everyone together and work out at the same time, it’s tough to find that space,” Arnos said. “The club sports teams also don’t have one great place where we can all get together and congregate to create community.”
More than 1,500 athletes play 50 club sports at Miami and Arnos said the Recreation Center (REC) does not appreciate when large groups of athletes come to the REC to use the equipment.
Senior Kelly Goldstein, treasurer and teammate on the women’s club rugby team, has experienced this first hand.
“If we want to work out as a team at the REC, there isn’t enough room for us because it’s open to the general public.”
Arnos said at least 30 teams have displayed interest in an additional workout facility. However, Vice President for Finance and Business Services and Treasurer David Creamer said the acquisition is not final because the school board is working through a property restriction on the deed. Creamer expects the acquisition of the property to be finalized at the start of the next calendar year at the very earliest.
Creamer said it is likely the main structure of the high school will be demolished.
“The primary purpose was to acquire the land, not the facility itself,” Creamer said. “Part of the reason for acquiring it was it provided recreational facilities that we wanted to make available for students.”
Creamer said the negotiated price to acquire the property was $1.2 million, and preliminary estimates for the demolition and further plans are $1.3-1.5 million. He said this project will not affect students’ tuition and student fees.
The high school gymnasium, which is attached to the main building, will also be demolished, if demolition is the final decision, Creamer said. He said the building is outdated and inefficient, and maintaining the building would be too costly.
Arnos said his proposal should not require any funding from the university. He currently plans to charge club teams an hourly rate that has not yet been decided to use the facility. Because most teams will not want to use the facility before 3 p.m., the facility may become available to students and community members who pay for a membership to the facility.
Senior Zachary Mathews, assistant forward’s coach for the women’s club rugby team, suggests holding events at the facility to generate funds.
“I don’t think it should be solely for club sports; you can get money from other organizations as well,” Mathews said.
Goldstein said she is concerned about the cost to use the facility for her team.
“We try to keep our dues as low as possible,” Goldstein said. “We have a free field just a little farther away.”
Arnos said funds generated by the revenue of using the facility would be used to repurpose the field house, equip it, maintain the fields, staff the facility, and pay for utilities.