Alderson-Broaddus discusses athletics expansion, increasing enro - Business, Government Legal News from throughout WV

Alderson-Broaddus discusses athletics expansion, increasing enrollment

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Although it discontinued its football program in the midst of the Great Depression, spectators could once again fill stadium seats, rooting for their favorite team at Alderson-Broaddus College.

Yet, football is not the only sport Alderson-Broaddus has added as part of a recent expansion.

Last summer, the college announced it would add football, men's and women's lacrosse, men's volleyball and women's tennis. Coaches for each were hired last summer and spent the year recruiting, said Ashley Mittelmeier, director of marketing and communications.

"Most of the teams will start playing this fall," Mittelmeier said. "The only exception is the football team, and it will play on an exhibition schedule and become part of the WVIAC the fall of 2013."

Mittelmeier said the new football team will play junior varsity and prep school teams. Since there are not enough seats to accommodate crowds, games will be played away.

"We're anticipating crowds of 1,500 to 2,000 people for weekend games, and we just don't have a stadium to seat that capacity," Mittelmeier said.  "We have a field, but we don't have a stadium."

To accommodate an influx in team sports players, the college will break ground in April for a multi-purpose stadium, which could be in use as soon as this fall.

"Teams are really excited about the new stadium because even though we are adding more teams, there will not be a constant battle for practice time because we can provide nighttime practice with overhead lights," Mittelmeier said. "That's not something we currently have on the field. Once or twice, I've seen some of the soccer players practice with their car lights on the field."

Fighting a decade of enrollment decline, the college came up with a strategic plan to expand. President Rick Creehan came up with a model that would leverage enrollment through athletics and extra-curricular activities.

"Sometimes you can have a 17-year-old high school student who is passionate about becoming a nurse but wants to play football," Mittelmeier said. "And that wasn't an option here because we didn't have football. But, that's changing."

Mittelmeier said the college already has seen a jump in enrollment.

"This time last year, for our incoming freshmen, we had 800 applications," Mittelmeier said. "Now, we have more than 3,000 applications and a big reason is because of the extra curricular activities and athletics."

With an increasing number of students filtering in the dorms, the college also will have to address space. Mittelmeier said the college has room for incoming freshmen, even if numbers are higher than projected.  

"However, we are talking to the architect who is doing the stadium, and they are also going to be building a new residential village," she said. "That way, by the time we get the new freshmen of 2013, there will be more housing."

Mittelmeier said community members and students are excited about the college's expansion.

"Everyone is excited that we are keeping the academics that Alderson-Broaddus stands for and that we are growing upon that," Mittelmeier said. "The strategic plan is not only for growing enrollment but growing a vibrant campus. We want to turn the atmosphere around so that students will be here on weekends and be more involved. And that concept is really catching on."


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