MARK COUCH | SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
Last December, the De Pere City Council approved St. Norbert’s plan to expand Schuldes Sports Center. Construction on the $26 million project started in March and is expected to be completed May 2017.
Schuldes was opened in 1979, and over the years has started to look outdated compared to the rest of St. Norbert’s ever-updating campus. The basketball and volleyball courts that are currently in use will be kept and used after the renovation.
The expansion and renovation will increase the size of Schuldes from 80,000 square feet to 130,000 square feet. The renovation will include the addition of an NCAA regulation-sized swimming pool, a second story with spectator seating overlooking the pool, a two-story fitness center, new locker rooms, a health and wellness center, athletic offices and an expanded lobby.
The pool will be added to the east side of Schuldes and will include a floor-to-ceiling window that looks out to the Fox River. The addition of the pool will allow St. Nobert to resurrect its swimming and diving program, which last competed in 2009.
Construction on the project has caused the demolition of St. Norbert’s human resources building on Third Street and the removal of 50 parking spaces in two parking lots outside of Schuldes. It is also causing this year’s commencement ceremony to be held on the Campus Center Lawn on May 15. The commencement ceremony hasn’t been held outdoors since 1977.
Many of the other buildings on campus have been renovated recently as part of the efforts to update St. Norbert’s campus which have been initiated by President Tom Kunkel. The Mulva Library was opened in 2009, Schneider Stadium was opened in 2010 and the Gehl-Mulva Science Center was renovated to include the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Green Bay campus in early 2015. When the project is completed in Spring of 2017, Schuldes Sports Center will finally match the visual appeal that these newer buildings have brought to the St. Norbert College Campus.