Marquette Wire

University still seeking partner for AHPRC

The+Athletic+and+Human+Performance+Research+Center+is+expected+to+be+ready+by+early+2019.
The Athletic and Human Performance Research Center is expected to be ready by early 2019.

The Athletic and Human Performance Research Center is expected to be ready by early 2019.

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

The Athletic and Human Performance Research Center is expected to be ready by early 2019.

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Three months following Aurora Health Care’s abrupt exit from the Athletic and Human Performance Research Center project, the university is still looking for a partner to finance the 46,000 square-foot facility.

“We’ve been having dialogue with a number of other partners,” University President Michael Lovell said at a press conference last week. “I can’t announce anything formally today, but we should be able to talk more as the fall goes on, but it is intended that we have another partner.”

Construction is slated to be finished in early 2019. If the athletic department wants the facility to be ready for men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse and golf seasons — the three teams most affected by the facility — the university has five months to finish the project.

Vice president for planning and strategy Lora Strigens said the delay in a partner agreement should not be an issue because of the universality of lab equipment. Regardless of who the partner will be, some of the equipment will be the same.

“Any of our partners in that research are going to use that same type of thing,” Strigens said. “But we also allow a fair amount of flexibility, so once we’re able to move forward with those partners, we can customize the space as needed.”

Aurora Health Care’s exit from the deal came a day before Advocate Aurora Health announced a $250 million hospital and medical office near the proposed Foxconn site in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin.

If the university cannot find a partner, it will have to dip into its cash reserves or rely on individual donations. Strigens said capital projects involve a mix of three financial sources: cash reserves, individual donations and partnerships. The AHPRC has money from all three categories.

“It’s a common model that you’ll see on all of our projects, and the proportion you’ll see varies from project to project,” Strigens said.

While the university could pull from the capital projects fund, Lovell said this is not the desired option.

“We have money for capital projects in the university that we always have access to,” Lovell said. “We want to hold (capital projects) money for projects that won’t have potential partners or other funders for.”

The facility is still expected to have the same features regardless of the sponsorship situation — 41,000 square feet for the athletic department and 5,000 square feet for academic research. The athletic portion will include a larger weight room and locker rooms for men’s and women’s lacrosse and men’s golf.

Marquette Athletics estimates the facility to directly impact 250 of the university’s 310 student-athletes because the weight room could benefit teams like track and field, cross country and soccer that still could train in the AHPRC.

The AHPRC, initially called the Athletic Performance Research Center, was supposed to be a 250,000-300,000 square-foot facility on Michigan Avenue. The university downscaled the project, moved it to a significantly smaller location and pushed the opening of the building from 2017 to early 2019 at the end of last year. 

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