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Creating a new Exercise Science and Sport Pavilion out of the existing West Towne Square will result in a larger facility built for significantly less than building an addition on the north end of Griswold Physical Education Center.

A change in plans has resulted from the generosity of two Decatur families.

In May 2010, as part of the announcement of Millikin’s “Transform MU” capital campaign, plans were announced to build an addition to the north end of Griswold Physical Education Center. The addition was planned to house the academic programs related to the four majors within the exercise science and sport department.

However, the focus for those plans shifted from Griswold to West Towne Square near campus in recent months following discussions among Millikin and the Demirjian and Romano families. The families jointly own the West Towne facility, and offered to make a gift to Millikin in the form of a bargain sale gift.

What Is Exercise Science and Sport?

This relatively new field is the result of an increased nationwide focus on the scientific connection between physical activity and better health, the growth of the fitness and sport industry, and the quest for improved athletic performance. Millikin’s department of exercise science and sport offers the choice of one of four areas of study:

  • Health, Fitness and Recreation
  • Sport Management
  • Athletic Training
  • Physical Education

The result? Millikin has the opportunity to create and equip its exercise science and sport pavilion for $5.77 million, about $8 million less than the cost of building the Griswold addition. The space allocated for the pavilion in West Towne Square is 34,000 square feet and almost an exact fit to original architect plans for the Griswold construction, with a gain of 12,000 square feet over the previous plan. West Towne also currently houses Pipe Dreams, Millikin’s student-run theatre company, as well as the Student Programming and Entertainment Center (SPEC).

“This is a natural extension of the Millikin campus,” says Vice President for Alumni and Development Peg Smith Luy ’75. “We are grateful to the Demirjian and Romano families for this innovative gift and purchase plan that will allow us to better serve the students who need the appropriate facilities and equipment to perform their learning in one of Millikin’s fastest growing programs. An additional benefit is that this provides an opportunity to leave the focus of Griswold strictly on athletics.”

Currently, many of the nearly 200 students within the four exercise science and sport majors already have classes in five locations across campus due to space limitations in Griswold.

Key to the progress of the new facility is raising the funding to acquire, renovate and equip the pavilion before the end of 2012. Toward that goal, Luy’s staff has worked hard to get the word out, and to date, more than $2 million has already been donated. Naming opportunities range from various pieces of equipment starting as low as $100 up to $1.02 million for the large physical conditioning learning center on the first floor (see diagram, left).

Once complete funding is obtained, it will take approximately six months to make renovations to West Towne and open the new pavilion.


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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL