LHU gets $1M gift for wrestling center

By DEREK DANNEKER

For The Express

LOCK HAVEN – Amid the Lock Haven University NCAA Division I wrestling team’s resurgence, the state has agreed to give the school $1 million for a new wrestling center.

Plans for the wrestling center, replete with a cardio-strength training facility, locker rooms, a training room, entry sequence, display area and administrative offices, will replace the old gymnasium portion of the East Campus along West Main Street.

The building was the Lock Haven High School before the university bought the property in 2004. The high school, however, closed about five years prior to that.

Excluding the new, state-of-the-art Science Center on the Church Street side of the complex, and tranformation of the old cafteria into a cafe, the original building has remained relatively unchanged.

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant was unveiled Friday by state Rep. Mike Hanna and Sen. Joseph Scarnati.

The Lock Haven University Foundation has hired Quad 3 Group to design the state-of-the-art wrestling center to support the growth and further development needs of the wrestling program for the years ahead.

However, the university also plans to use the new center to host youth and high school wrestling teams.

Completion of the project is set for one year after demolition of the aging areas.

The university was closed Friday for winter break.

Attempts to reach school officials for comment were not successful.

Hanna, who also serves on the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education board of governors, said the project will enhance the unversity’s wrestling program.

“LHU is known nationwide for its very successful wrestling program, but their current facility does not meet the needs of the program, nor does it allow for the university to host large wrestling events,” Hanna said. “LHU has a bright future and this funding will benefit the lives of both students and the community for years to come… And, the ability to host wrestling events for the community are essential to maintaining the already well-regarded reputation of LHU.”

Scarnati said,“Today’s approval of grants for these local projects will have a tremendous impact upon our region. State investments in rural Pennsylvania are crucial to the future stability and success of our communities.”

Recently, LHU upset No. 11 Rutgers University in front of more than 2,300 fans at Thomas Fieldhouse.

The team followed that by winning the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) championship, with five wrestlers winning individual championships.

According to the most recent USA Today/NWCA Coaches poll, LHU’s wrestling team is ranked No. 20 in the country, ahead of much larger schools such as Central Michigan, Purdue and North Carolina.

Leading the charge is Ronnie Perry, Chance Marsteller and Thomas Haines, ranked No. 13, No. 8 and No. 13, respectively.

The LHU team next hosts the Lock Haven Classic in Thomas Fieldhouse on Dec. 29 at 9:30 p.m.

According to the Pennsylvania Office of the Budget website, the RACP is a Commonwealth grant program for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. Other projects include refurbishing: DuBois Memorial Park; Dubois Main Street; and Domtar Paper Company LLC for a total of $5.1 million.

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