The Pursuit of Excellence On and Off the Court

The Pursuit of Excellence On and Off the Court

Utah Valley University (UVU) Volleyball player Ke’ilani Sedrick shares why a new academic facility is needed.

Outdated, disconnected, crowded. This describes the current academic facility available to Utah Valley University (UVU) student-athletes.

The nearly 30-year-old facility is a collection of connected, yet separate buildings resembling construction trailers. To make matters worse, it is about a half-mile walk to reach the facility from the Student Life and Wellness Center, located near the heart of campus.

This dull nature and less-than-ideal location gives student-athletes few reasons to utilize it. Outside of Wolverine Athletics, hardly anyone knows it exists.

 

Student-athletes crowded into the academic facility.
Student-athletes crowded into the academic facility.

Ke’ilani Sedrick, a sophomore libero for the UVU Women’s Volleyball Team, is one of the many student-athletes constrained by the limits of the current facility.

“It’s not the best thing ever,” Ke’ilani said.

For her and other Division I student-athletes, days offer few breaks. While in-season, Ke’ilani wakes up before the sun rises; she starts with 7 a.m. weights, followed by class, physical therapy, a few hours of practice, night classes or study hall, and some time at the end of the day to decompress.

 

Unlike UVU, most NCAA DI universities provide their athletes with ample resources required to not only manage, but flourish with such a busy schedule. Many of these colleges boast state-of-the-art buildings with access to tutoring, physical therapy, a player’s lounge, nutrition center, study rooms, and locker rooms in a single location. This makes it easier for athletes to take advantage of the resources they need to succeed at a high level. But at UVU, the current 800-square-foot facility can hinder progress.

Ke’ilani says the tutoring room, for example, is crowded and loud, making it difficult to focus. There are often multiple tutoring sessions taking place in the same open space. Students are even using what is supposed to be the nutrition center as an overflow area to study. For Ke’ilani, this presents another challenge.

“One big struggle, especially as a female athlete, is eating enough for what we’re doing and not selling yourself short of what you should,” she said.

There is hope, however, in the form of a new all-in-one building, which Ke’ilani believes could be life changing for UVU athletes. The prospective 50,000-square-foot facility would be the first-ever centralized home for Wolverine Athletics. It would accommodate a group study area, computer lab, fueling station, tutoring rooms, offices, and other amenities for the more than 400 athletes who make up the 16 athletic teams at the university.

These improvements, along with a much-needed contemporary practice area for wrestling and an advanced weight room, would help comprise a new, more modern facility better fit to serve the needs of today’s athletes.

A rendering of the proposed academic facility for UVU Athletics.

The proposed facility will be attached to main campus through the UCCU Center.

 

While providing current student-athletes with the tools they need to succeed in the classroom is always top of mind, another selling point of the project is the ability to recruit at a higher level.

“We continually get out-recruited simply because of our academic facility,” Director of Athletics Dr. Jared Sumsion said. “It’s just not at the level of an NCAA Division I university.”

The hope is that a new academic facility will lead to better recruiting and in turn, better overall performance from athletics. This would add to the current momentum possessed by the Wolverines.

 

UVU Volleyball celebrating their 2021 WAC Championship win.
UVU Volleyball celebrating their 2021 WAC Championship win.

Despite a sub-par academic facility, three UVU teams qualified for the NCAA Tournament in the 2020-2021 season. One of those teams was Ke’ilani’s. She helped the Wolverines Women’s Volleyball Team win the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament for the second straight season and advance to the first round of the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Tournament.

While UVU teams have experienced success, Ke’ilani and other student-athletes know a new academic home will take their performance to the next level.

“Getting a new athletic facility would really help us in drawing more recruits into buying into our athletics and academics,” she said.

 

Ke’ilani believes the future of UVU is bright and that the proposed academic facility will inspire the next generation of Wolverines.

Anticipated costs for the project are $34 million.

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