New Aquinas athletic complex opens for students and the public

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Aquinas College is celebrating the completion of the school’s largest capital project so far. It’s a new indoor athletic complex that will serve the school for generations to come.

Past alumni and Aquinas officials spoke on behalf of the project Thursday, dedicating the building to the students of Aquinas.

However, it’s not just for the students. The building will also be open certain days of the week for the general public to enjoy.

“But really, it’s bigger than athletics,” said Greg Meyer, Vice President and Executive Director of the Aquinas College Foundation. “It's about student recruitment overall.”

Meyer believes this is the beginning for great things to come for Aquinas, so does Mike Wojciakowski,  the Head Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Coach.

Wojciakowski was a student during the summer of 1993. He said he can recall hearing rumors that an indoor facility was in the works during his undergrad in '93.

“It’s like a dream, just being out here today will give you goosebumps,” he said.

The ceremony finished with a 4 by 100 meter relay and coach Wojciakowski’s daughter broke the tape that signaled the official opening of the sports and recreation building.

“Just seeing her cross the line first, with a big smile on her face, what more could a dad ask for?” said Wojciakowski.

Aquinas raised more than $5.7 million dollars with donations from more than 300 individuals and families. Greg Alksnis and his families were the lead donation, giving $1.5 million.

“It’s about helping others,” said Alksnis. “I believe that if you’re blessed with a fine life, good health and a family, I think it’s our responsibility to help those that are not.”

The Alksnis Athletic and Recreational Building is the second phase of two, built after the Sturrus Sports and Fitness Center, which opened November 2010.

Meyer said this is just the beginning.

“We have a lot of plans in place,” said Meyer. "We know things that we need to improve on including our science facility and some of our academic facilities.”

Aquinas also has plans for chapel renovations and a brand new entrance to the college.

But for the moment, they say “It’s a good day to be a saint.”

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