The continuing transformation of the Wake Forest campus accelerated Thursday with groundbreaking ceremonies for two multi-million dollar athletics facilities.
President Nathan O. Hatch and athletics director Ron Wellman were present for the groundbreaking for the Sutton Sports Performance Center and the Shah Basketball Complex, which was held in the McCreary Field House, another glittering new facility that opened in January of 2016.
Wellman said the target date for the completion of the new buildings is between late summer of 2018 and New Year’s 2019.
“It’s critical,’’ Wellman said of the impact of the additions on Wake Forest athletics. “It’s critical for us to chase championships, to contend for championships, win championships, both at the ACC level and the NCAA level.
“Great facilities today are the price of admission in the Power Five conferences, and others as well. We are blessed to have people like Mit Shah, Bob McCreary, Ben Sutton, leading that cause.’’
The third floor of the Sutton Sports Performance Center will feature 17,000-square feet of meeting rooms, coaches’ offices and historical displays of the men’s and women’s basketball programs. The fourth floor will consist of 18,000-square feet for meeting rooms, coaches’ offices and historical displays of the football program. The fourth floor will also include a customized nutrition center of more than 1,500-square feet.
Construction began on the Sutton Sports Performance Center in October of 2016, and it will eventually connect to the McCreary Field House. It will be named for Ben Sutton, a 1980 graduate who donated $15 million to its construction.
“I love the Demon Deacons,’’ Sutton said. “I believe in what we’re doing. I believe that Wake Forest, by being in the Atlantic Coast Conference — six private schools and three or four others that act like private schools — we can compete and we can win championships in this league.’’
The Shah Basketball Complex with be a $12 million facility of 24,000-square feet with a regulation basketball court as well as spacious interconnected practice areas for both the men’s and women’s basketball programs. It will also feature a 6,000-square-foot area for strength and conditioning.
The facility will be named for Mit Shah, a graduate of 1991 who donated $5 million to the project.
“I’m excited,’’ head basketball coach Danny Manning said. “It gives us one of the premier training facilities in the country, with the amount of space we’re going to have and state-of-the-art facilities. It definitely enhances Wake Forest athletics across the board.’’
Head football coach Dave Clawson looked around the McCreary Field House, a showplace of an indoor football practice facility, and smiled at all the improvements being made in Wake Forest athletics.
“Every few months it seems like it just gets better,’’ Clawson said. “It really does. This building’s awesome and that one will be now another step. I just think it shows the commitment level to athletics here.’’