It was a beautiful day in so many ways.
On another day, in another era, it would have been cold and rainy. Not any more.
The blue skies and the crisp fall air were a perfect backdrop as Rutgers broke ground on the RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center. Or as we knew it, the Multisport Practice Facility. Just this morning, the Rutgers Board of Governors approved the naming of the facility.
This was the day that so many Rutgers fans had been waiting for. A statement that RU was going to be “in the game” for real. That Rutgers was going to pursue excellence in everything it does.
And it was apparent in the words of Athletic Director Pat Hobbs: “Our partnership with RWJBarnabas Health is a testament to the leadership of Dr. Barchi and Barry H. Ostrowsky,” said Hobbs. “They share a vision to provide our students, and athletes across the state, with the very best in sports medicine and together we will do that. Everyone is coming together to provide our students and coaches with the resources they need to compete at a championship level. This is a day to celebrate the commitment of our Governor, our partners in the Legislature, and the many Rutgers alumni and friends who are responding to our call to be all in.”
University President Robert Barchi, someone who I have criticized early on for his seeming lack of interest in athletics, made his voice heard as well: “This partnership between New Jersey’s State University, with its academic health center, and the state’s most comprehensive integrated health system, will be transformational on many levels, giving our students and athletes a world-class sports medicine program and helping us construct a cutting-edge athletic training facility.”
RWJBarnabas, as the naming rights sponsor, was well represented on the dais, most significantly by Rutgers alum Barry Ostrowsky, the President and CEO of RWJBarnabas Health. "It is our mission to bring the best of academic medicine, research, education and providers together to create healthier communities in New Jersey. This partnership represents the next natural step in bringing together The State University of New Jersey and the state's finest health care system," said Ostrowsky. "This will allow both of our organizations to leverage resources to serve the Rutgers students, faculty and surrounding communities. With the new RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center serving as the cornerstone for a nationally recognized collegiate athletics and sports medicine program, we look forward to investing in academic medical education, sports performance and overall community wellness."
The connection with RWJBarnabas Health is exceptionally significant for Rutgers, both the athletic arm and the academic. RWJBarnabas Health is investing a total of $18 million to create a sports medicine program and for construction of the facility, which will be completed by July 2019. The RWJBarnabas Health sports medicine program will be comprised of athletic trainers, physical therapists, sports medicine physicians, orthopedic surgeons, sports psychologists, psychiatrists and other behavioral health specialists, sports performance specialists and nutritional experts. It will be accessible to the entire Rutgers community and the public, in addition to Rutgers athletes.
GroundbreakingPosted by On the Banks on Tuesday, November 1, 2016