Today was a symbolic and important day for Rutgers athletics, as an official topping off ceremony was held for the RJWBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center. That means the physical structure for the facility that will house men’s & women’s basketball, wrestling, and gymnastics is now complete. The full completion of the entire building is slated for summer 2019.
This is a major step in the right direction for an athletic department that was way behind it’s fellow Big Ten members since joining the conference in 2014. Like the Marco Battaglia Football Practice Complex completed last summer, this is another sign that the “same old Rutgers” is forever in the past. Athletic Director Pat Hobbs has spearheaded fundraising and a facilities plan through the R B1G Build since his arrival over two years ago that should signal true optimism to all Rutgers fans that the future is bright. Day’s like today serve as proof that real progress is occurring.
Here is a full description of what will be housed in this facility from the Rutgers press release sent earlier today:
The RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center at Rutgers University represents a partnership between Rutgers and RWJBarnabas Health to create a comprehensive sports medicine program to serve Rutgers athletes, students and communities throughout New Jersey. RWJBarnabas Health is the exclusive health care provider for Rutgers Athletics and is creating a best-in-class sports medicine program to be expanded across the state. The 307,000-square-foot, four-story sports facility and parking deck adjacent to the RAC will be the headquarters for a world-class sports medicine program. The building will also provide state-of-the-art practice facilities, training areas, locker room and office space for men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling and gymnastics. A café serving healthy meals to student-athletes, as well as a merchandise store open to the general public, will also be included in the facility, which rises via the “R Big Ten Build” campaign to raise $100 million for new or upgraded facilities.
Here are quotes from the ceremony courtesy of this Rutgers press release:
Topping-off ceremony for @RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center at @RutgersU held under sunny skies Monday afternoon. Recap and photo gallery ▶️ https://t.co/yRZW2y4DCu pic.twitter.com/EN6DA9FwPW— Rutgers Scarlet Knights (@RUAthletics) June 4, 2018
President Robert Barchi:
“I love to sign diplomas, I love to sign contracts, but most of all I love to sign steel,” said Rutgers University President Robert Barchi. “This, to me, is one of the signature things that we have been trying to accomplish. It’s not that easy to do. It’s taken the partnerships that we’ve put together with our legislators, and the partnerships we’ve put together with our friends, to make this happen.”
Athletic Director Pat Hobbs:
“This is a special day for Rutgers,” said Hobbs. “This is a day that we talk about. When I came here I said, we’re going to be about championships. Steve Pikiell put up three shelves in his office. One for our first Big Ten Championship, one for a Final Four and one for when we win an NCAA Championship. We don’t just say that, we believe that.”
RWJBarnabas Health President and CEO Barry Ostrowsky:
“We are a fortunate organization that is pursuing a mission to make the people of New Jersey live happier and healthier lives,” said Ostrowsky. “Rutgers University is an internationally renowned educational institution that has research felt around the world. It was only natural that our two organizations would come together.”
Men’s Basketball player Myles Johnson, representing all student-athletes:
“We will have all the resources to be successful in our future years,” said Johnson. “This facility is going to set us apart…On behalf of every current Scarlet Knight and those in the future, I would like so sincerely thank Dr. Barchi, Mr. Ostrowsky and Mr. Hobbs for providing us this amazing facility.”
Here is the entire ceremony that was live streamed by the athletic department on Facebook on Monday afternoon:
More social media coverage:
Thank you @R_Fund @PatHobbsRU for making today happen. Your support means the world to our Scarlet Knights family. R future is very bright! Let's continue to build this thing and write the next great chapter in Rutgers Athletics history!!! pic.twitter.com/LmFPyLWnAQ— C. Vivian Stringer (@cvivianstringer) June 4, 2018
The final piece of structural steel is hoisted away during the ‘topping off ceremony’ placement at the new 307,000 square foot @RutgersU @RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center. @RUAthletics @cvivianstringer@PatHobbsRU pic.twitter.com/tj24gJxM7d— Robert Karp (@BobKarpDR) June 4, 2018
Four stories, with a parking deck and Hall of Fame lobby. Won't hurt recruiting, that's for sure. pic.twitter.com/oHBis8DehJ— Jerry Carino (@NJHoopsHaven) June 4, 2018
Here at Rutgers, players are signing the last piece of steel for the new practice facility. It will open next summer. pic.twitter.com/SnROpydIes— Jerry Carino (@NJHoopsHaven) June 4, 2018