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April 6, 2016
By Lee Volmer, media relations assistant
Northwest Missouri State University student-athletes have a new area on campus to study and take a break between classes and practices.
The space, located on the first floor in Northwest’s Lamkin Activity Center, was formerly the University’s fitness center. Since the opening of the Robert and Virginia Foster Fitness Center last fall, it has been repurposed into a leisure lounge for student-athletes, furnished with couches, tables, chairs and TVs.
The idea for the Student-Athlete Academic Center (SAAC) was born out of a lack of space for student-athletes, especially those competing in spring sports. Student-athletes in Northwest spring sports programs do not have locker rooms to study or socialize with other teammates.
“We have so many student-athletes here, but no space where they can sit and study, eat, or just relax,” Assistant Athletic Director Andy Peterson said. “Their lives are very busy, so we were looking for a way to provide that kind of space while getting them more academically involved.”
Peterson added, “We want to encourage our students to practice good health of the entire body, physically and mentally. We wanted this area because it’s a great first step toward strong mental health.”
Additionally, the SAAC will help ensure Northwest student-athletes continue to be successful in the classroom. Ninety-three Northwest student-athletes earned a 3.50 grade-point average or higher during the 2014-2015 academic year, ranking Northwest second among its competitors in the MIAA conference. Northwest student-athletes also have a 79 percent Student-Athlete Academic Success Rate.
Student-athletes’ reactions to the new space have been positive.
“A lot of them are better able to manage their time on campus,” Peterson said. “Previously many of them would go to coaches’ offices, which was fine but not very convenient for either the athletes or the coaches.
“I’ve seen athletes from every sport in there. They seem to be enjoying it, and it sends a good message to the students and administration. This space will continue to grow and be an asset to our athletic program.”
Women’s tennis player Vilune Sestokaite enjoys the SAAC because it’s a place she can go between practices or workouts instead of having to go to her house.
“It's also nice being around other student-athletes while studying,” she said. “This center helps a lot and shows how much pride the University has in the athletics program.”
Baseball player Joey Scott likes its close proximity to coaches’ offices and the team’s training room.
“I really like how exclusive it is,” Scott said. “When you’re not studying, it's nice to go there and relax by yourself in between classes or hang out with your team,” Scott said.
Track and field athlete Jake Stansbury added, “One of my favorite things about having this new space is that it makes it more comfortable to sit and wait for practice after class. Now I can go from class to the area and get some work done before practice.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468