Aug. 23, 2010
Northwest Facilities Receive Face-Lift
By David Boyce
Whenever the football players walked past the training room the first few days of practice, all they could see were men working, a fairly empty space and a strip of new carpeting.
But the Bearcats know the David D.C. Colt training room is going to be an upgrade from what they experienced last year.
"We've seen glimpses of it when the doors are open," said junior wide receiver Jake Soy. "It looks really nice and we are really excited about it."
One of the new features for $90,000 project will be a whirlpool to sooth all the aches and pains that occurs during an athletic season.
"There's an upgrade there," said football coach Mel Tjeerdsma. "They just created more space with the same amount of space by rearranging things.
"From what I can see and what they told me, it's a great plan and it's really going to help us."
The refurbished training room is one of three upgrades for athletic facilities at Northwest Missouri for the upcoming school season.
During the summer the track at Bearcat Stadium was resurfaced. Also, the high-rise tennis courts are also getting a remake and should be finished sometime this week.
"If you don't stay on top of these things they start deteriorating pretty quickly," said Northwest Missouri athletic director Bob Boerigter.
"Within the last five years we have renovated all our locker rooms, upgraded our weight room and now our training room."
The improvements, Boerigter said, are in line with what has been going on across campus.
"It's beyond athletics," he said. "Our campus has had a significant commitment to upgrade its infrastructure overall. We are continually looking at residence halls and academic space for teaching and areas within the student union. What we are doing in athletics is really consistent with what we are trying to do at the university."
The student-athletes certainly appreciate it.
When senior quarterback Blake Bolles first arrived at Northwest Missouri, the weight room had just been upgraded.
The next class of athletes coming in will reap the full benefits of the training room.
"You definitely take pride in something like this," Bolles said. "You feel like you are a part of the upgrade to make this school better. And for other athletes who come through here, they get the best training and have the best experience that they can have."
Tjeerdsma sees first-hand what improved facilities means to his program.
"If you look at our football team over the past couple of years and what we started with during fall camp and what we finished with 15 games later, we almost have our entire team after 15 games," Tjeerdsma said.
"Last year we were only missing one guy. We have guys who miss some games who get hurt, but our trainers do a great job of taking care of them."
The trainers will have even better equipment to keep all the student-athletes healthy during their season.
A lot of people put in the work to make it happen.
The $90,000 for the refurbished training room came from private dollars.
It takes more than one letter or one phone call, Boerigter said, to generate those funds.
"There is a whole team of people who work on it," he said. "We have a very active alumni association and they have a program called friend-raising. That's the first step in fundraising is make sure people who are alums reconnect with the university and hopefully they feel good about that and give back to their alma mater."
The effort to improve facilities helps build school pride.
"You are proud of where you went to college," Soy said. "All-around, it is just a great community and a great college and you are just proud to be a part of it."
The Bearcats are eager to begin another exciting school year. This fall the football team will try to repeat as NCAA Division II champions.
Enthusiasm is high for volleyball under first-year coach Jessica Rinehart and women's soccer is coming off its best seasons ever. In addition, the cross country program is on the rise.
"This is really a fun time of the year," Boerigter said. "The student-athletes come in and their enthusiasm is so high regardless of what the prognosticators think they are going to do."
David Boyce spent more than 20 years covering high school and small college athletics at the Kansas City Star newspaper in Missouri. He's covered six of Northwest Missouri State's seven national championship football games and recently served as a guest columnist for the MIAA.
Boyce was named KIAAA Sportswriter of the Year in 1994. He covered boxing at the Star from 1991-2004 including Tommy Morrison and worked both championship fights between Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis. His 1997 exclusive story on Morrison becoming HIV positive was named an Associated Press Sports Editor top 10 feature for papers serving more than 150,000.
Boyce was born in New York City and was raised in Kansas City, Kan. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1988 with a degree in journalism. He is currently one of three official scorers for the Kansas City Royals and is a contributing writer for the Royals Gameday magazine.
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