CSU dedicates new athletic center
by: University Relations
Ninety minutes before the Charleston Southern University Buccaneers kicked off the 2012 home schedule against Jacksonville on Saturday, alumni, administration, faculty, staff and friends were gathered at the north end of the stadium to dedicate and celebrate the opening of a new athletic center.
“Football has been an extension that has allowed us to go out and share the vision of the university, to integrate faith in learning, leading and serving, and to do it on a national scope,” said CSU head coach Jay Mills. “We are excited about where we are today, but we’re even more excited about the future.”
One by one, members of past, present and future Buccaneer football stepped forward to share their memories and their hopes for the future of the program.
“I was fortunate to be a part of this team when we won our first conference game against VMI,” said CSU alumnus Mike McCann. “I was also fortunate enough to be on the team that won our first conference championship.”
McCann, who played safety and special teams for Charleston Southern from 2004-2008, was part of the Buccaneer teams that played Miami, Hawaii, and Miami (Ohio). “It’s a unique opportunity for these young men to play the top level of collegiate athletics. It’s exciting to know that all these games made this possible. I am so happy to be a part of this.”
The new athletic center was designed by the Charleston-based architectural firm Goff D'Antonio. Trident Construction built the Charleston Southern athletic center under the direction of project manager Todd Bullwinkle and superintendent Clay Barber.
Bullwinkle spoke to the crowd gathered at Saturday’s dedication and announced the project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget, allowing CSU’s football team and coaches to move in a month prior to the season opener.
“For us a construction project is like a successful athletic team or program in that it is a ‘team’ effort,” said Bullwinkle. “From our perspective this (building) is the ultimate team collaborative construction project.”
CSU leveraged this opportunity to begin some new traditions. On the floor at the center of the new locker room the Charleston Southern University Buccaneers team logo is surrounded by gold and blue markers. No player or team is permitted to step inside the circle until game day and, only then, the ropes will be pulled away and CSU players are allowed in the area.
“That Cutlass (CSU logo) reminds us of the past and those that came before us,” said Mills. “It recognizes the present team and builds hope for the future.”
Charleston Southern dedicated three lockers to the memories of Kevin Keyes, Eddie Gadson Jr. and Scott Wehnes, former Buccaneer student-athletes who lost their lives.
“It gives us hope and assurance that the legacy and memories will continuously touch the lives of others,” said Johnnie Keyes, mother of the late Kevin Keyes. “This building is a tremendous statement,” said former CSU football coach David Dowd, pointing to the new athletic center over his shoulder. “I am so humbled to be here. The phrase I heard today -- ‘standing on the shoulders’ – whether it’s a new event, a new program, a new building is another chapter in the book of Charleston Southern University.”
The Athletic Center is phase one of a three-phase building complex to benefit athletics. Phase one houses locker rooms for football, men’s track, women’s track and training facilities.