Editors’ Note: This story has been updated to reflect the most accurate information

Clarification: This story previously lacked information about the current athlete academic center, as well as quotes from athletes themselves.

Correction appended. 

A date has not been set to begin construction on the Perry and Sandy Sook Academic Center, a study facility for student-athletes.

The Sook Center, which will be at the north end zone of Peden Stadium, was first announced in September 2014. The Sooks, both Ohio University alumni, donated $2.25 million to the OU Foundation in June 2014 to kickstart the project.

In June, the Board of Trustees approved the $620,000 design of the center, which is set to occur within the next year. Construction is expected to be about $5.5 million.

As of Aug. 3, a total of about $5.74 million had been raised for the Sook Center, OU Spokesman Dan Pittman said.

Of the more than $6 million total cost, about $3.6 million has been pledged as of June but has not yet been received. A little more than $2 million has already been received by the university. The Sooks have contributed $900,000 to the $2 million total so far, according to the center's gift agreement obtained via a public records request.

OU basketball senior Antonio Campbell said in a previous Post report he would utilized the Sook Center if would have finished before his graduation.

"It will definitely boost our recruiting for football, baseball, basketball, pretty much everything," Campbell said in a previous Post report. "That's actually one huge thing that kids coming out of high school look at when they visit: how the facilities are. We already have a nice gym and a nice locker room, so that will set the tone right there."

Currently, student-athletes at OU use a 10,000 square-foot academic facility in Peden Stadium’s tower, the Joan and Wallace Phillips Center, which accommodates about 440 students a year in its 10 tutoring rooms and one 42-seat classroom.

The creation of restrooms that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act accounts for $100,000 of the total cost.

A gender-neutral restroom will also be included in the building as part of OU's requirement to have one in every renovated or newly built building, according to a previous Post report.

An additional $352,000 will come out of the athletics reserves.

Andrea Koberlein, a junior studying environmental nutrition, is not a fan of the Sook Center.

“I think we put way too much money into athletics in college,” Koberlein said.

She questioned whether the student-athletes would utilize the Sook Center more than Alden Library.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with our library right now,” Koberlein said. "I don’t know why they deserve their own separate one."

Although Alden Library was renovated during the summer, Koberlein said having additional renovations would be more beneficial than building an academic center.

Devon Bullock, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering, does not support the idea of a center exclusively for student-athletes.

“If I was a student-athlete, I’d probably have a different opinion,” Bullock said. "It just doesn’t sound very efficient with the money."

He suggests either making Alden Library bigger or building a second library.

Faculty have expressed concern about the Sook Center, even though construction has yet to begin on the project.

In May, Faculty Senate passed a resolution calling on OU to “abandon” its efforts to construct the Sook Center as senate members believed the center would separate student-athletes from the rest of the student body.

In November 2014, Faculty Senate passed a resolution encouraging OU administration to be “very cautious” about dividing students with the proposed Sook Center.

At Monday’s Faculty Senate meeting, Chair Joe McLaughlin said no one reached out to them about it until April 2015.

“(That is) not a good sign in terms of shared governance," McLaughlin said at Monday’s meeting.





Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled Andrea Koberlein's name. The article has been updated to show the most accurate information. 

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