After four years of planning and construction, Wayne State College opened a new Recreation Center on its campus in the Fall of 1987. The Center included the refurbished Carlson Natatorium and aerobics/gymnastics facilities. The construction of new outdoor tennis courts, located several blocks east of the Rec Center, replaced the old courts which were situated where the Rec Center arena is now. This opened a new era of recreational and instructional opportunities available to Wayne State College students and the surrounding region.
The 50,000 square foot Recreation Center arena’s main attraction is 3 college regulation basketball courts surrounded by a new 160 meter, 6-lane mondo track, which was implemented in the summer of 2001. The arena also has the capability to provide setup for 5 volleyball courts, 3 tennis courts, 9 badminton/pickleball courts, and a wide array of other activities. The complex also houses 2 separate weight rooms, which contain modern weight training and cardiovascular equipment. Classrooms for Health-Human Performance and Sports as well as athletic staff are also located within the facility. Rice Auditorium, home of the Wayne State men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams, is connected to the Recreation Center.
Adjacent to the complex is Memorial Stadium/Cunningham Field, which is the home of the Wildcat football and track teams. In the Fall of 1993, new football practice field and intramural softball fields were completed. New construction started in May 1994 on the existing baseball field. The area now contains a Varsity Baseball/ Softball complex. A general recreation area was constructed on the existing athletic practice grounds.
In the Fall of 1997, the Wayne State College Athletic Program added the 15th varsity sport to its collection: Varsity Women’s Soccer. The soccer field is located between the new tennis courts and Memorial Stadium/ Cunningham Field.
On May 20th, 1998, Wayne State College was voted into the Northern Sun Conference, and in March, 1999, Wayne State College was honored to host its 1st NCAA Division II Regional Men’s Basketball competition.
In the summer of 2002, the tennis courts renovation project was completed. A baseball clubhouse was added as the first phase in a four phase plan to upgrade the baseball/softball complex. In November of 2002, the outdoor track and entrance plaza began. The project was completed in August 2003. Highlights of the project included a brand new 400 meter track, with new jump and throwing areas, a new entrance plaza, ticket, storage and restroom building, newly renovated press box and ADA seating and accessibility to the stadium as well as to the new restroom facility.
On March 10th, 2003, the Rice Auditorium heating and air conditioning project began. The project included providing air conditioning to all classrooms, offices, and Rice Auditorium.
The Wildcat Sports Medicine Center dedication was held Friday, December 9th, 2005. The center has approximately 4000 square-feet of space and includes patient exam rooms, a gym area with a variety of state-of-the-art equipment, and a hydro-therapy area. It is located on the upper level of the Recreation Center. The Wildcat Sports Medicine Center provides athletic training and coverage to Wayne State students as well as area and regional high schools.
A new floor in Rice Auditorium was finished in the summer of 2005, followed by new balcony seating in the summer of 2007. The second phase of the baseball/softball complex was completed with the addition of a new softball clubhouse in the spring of 2006. New scoreboards, bullpens, wooden fences, an emergency/service road and side walk were added in 2008-09.
New visiting bleachers at Memorial Stadium were installed in the fall of 2007. A new varsity weight room, football locker room, football offices, soccer locker room were finished in August of 2008. The Memorial Stadium concession stand was also renovated in 2008. The basement of Rice is the new home of the HHPS department beginning the spring semester of 2009. As a part of this project all varsity locker rooms were upgraded with new carpet and wooden lockers. A new women’s basketball locker room was created were the old training room was located. The old varsity football locker room was converted into a student free weight room and a visiting team and official’s locker room. Both were opened in the spring of 2009.