FOREST CITY - Waldorf College athletes will have some fancy new digs this sports season, as the new Denny Jerome Center nears construction completion.
Named after former Waldorf athletics director and current women's basketball coach Denny Jerome, the new facility houses locker rooms for seven sports, including baseball, softball, women's cross country, bowling, hockey and football.
The center also provides several spacious classrooms, conference rooms and another needed facilty, a large room where baseball and softball teams can workout and take live pitching in batting cages.
"It provides a new resource for our student athletes and should help attract recruits," said current Waldorf athletics director Michael Scarano.
The new facility became necessary when Waldorf expanded its sports roster last year. The school added bowling, cross country, women's wrestling and ice hockey.
Scarano said when student athletes visit a campus, they want to know three things about the facilities, including where they play, where the locker rooms are and where the coaches offices are.
With the new addition, Waldorf will be able to group the facilities with offices for coaches that use it most.
Construction started last fall and is nearing completion. It should be ready for the current fall sports season, Scarano said. The Warrior football team moved into its new digs last weekend.
The facility is being funded by Columbia Southern University, which owns Waldorf and is its partner.
Waldorf has mde other upgrades to its facilities. It's installing artificial turf to its football field, and the strength and conditioning weightroom has some new equipment.
"The turf on the field should be completed this week and be ready for our home season opener," Scarano said. "It's going to be a big help to our football recruiting."
The new classrooms and conference rooms are also a welcome addition. Coaches and athletes can meet and go over film in those rooms, and one of the rooms will be used for a study hall for the athletes.
Also housed in the center is a spacious new training room, with offices for Waldorf's two sports trainers right on site.
"This puts everything in one place," Scarano said.
Waldorf's women's softball coach and the Director of Events and Facilities Denny Gilbertson said he's already been able to show off the center to potential recruits who have visited the school.
"The Jerome Center is just a great new addition to the college, and our athletics facilities in general," Gilbertson.
"Some of my potential recruits have already seen the large room where we can hit live pitching, use a batting cage and even take some ground balls.
"And it makes sense for the football and soccer programs to have the facility and offices near where they play and practice," he said.