Kirk Gardner Indoor Athletic Complex
Our newly renovated Indoor Athletic Complex vacates and fills in the current pool located in the Wayne State College Natatorium and begins the process of repurposing the facility with a multiuse, artificial turf surface, protective netting system, and additional office space to accommodate the growing student intramural athletic program and fulfills a need of indoor training space for our varsity sports programs.
Along with the increase in use of the facility by the general student population, there has been an increase in use by athletics, club sports, intramural, organizations and general student use. This has led to substantial increase in space and time needed in the Recreation Center and other venues (Rice Auditorium, Rice Auditorium stage, Natatorium balcony). Due to Title IX, additional Intercollegiate Athletic program(s) have been implemented at WSC. WSC is also exploring establishing additional formalized club sports as a means to serve students and sustain enrollment goals. These initiatives will require additional athletic and recreational space. With only one indoor multiuse facility available, it is imperative WSC is able to increase multi-use, indoor facility space in order to provide safe activity areas based on expected pattern of growth. WSC’s current indoor athletic and recreation spaces have become inadequate based on current use.
Even when the pool was functioning properly the overall use by WSC (faculty, staff, students) and the Wayne community was fairly limited when compared to other indoor athletic/recreation space. With no definite solution available to fix the pool, WSC has determined to identify and commit resources to renovate the Natatorium to make its use more consistent and versatile.
WSC currently has inter-local agreements with the City of Wayne and Wayne Community Schools for use of campus facilities. Currently there is not an indoor facility with a significant artificial playing surface in the greater Wayne area. Even with current inter-local agreements in place, these entities experience difficulties gaining access to athletic and recreational facilities due to current WSC use and demand as highlighted above. This type of facility will allow for enhanced program development and partnership at the College, City and Interscholastic level. An additional multi-use indoor athletic and recreation space is needed to accommodate WSC’s current internal programming, Title IX equity planning, adequately service external partnership needs, and to provide an additional recruiting tool for prospective students as an overall student life enhancement.
Wayne State Foundation contributed $650,000 of fundraised dollars to create the Kirk Gardner Indoor Athletic Complex. With a lead gift from the Gardner Foundation, the new space was named after Kirk Gardner, who competed in football at Wayne State College from 1975 to 1977 where he was a starting fullback for three seasons. He earned three letters in football at Wayne State and was named team co-captain. Gardner scored a team-high eight touchdowns in the 1976 season, rushing for 511 yards from his fullback position. He was named Most Valuable Back that season and was named to the Nebraska College Conference All Star Team. As a senior in 1977, he scored five touchdowns and rushed for 345 yards while helping the Wildcats to a 7-3 record. He was the lead blocker for Bob Barry, who gained a then school record 1,130 yards that season. Gardner went on to earn All-NAIA District 11 and Central States Intercollegiate Conference honorable mention honors during his senior season. He is a trustee of the Gardner Foundation and member of the Wayne State Foundation Board of Trustees. His significant support and contributions to Wayne State College have been very instrumental in the resurgence of Wildcat athletics. Gardner, who resides in Bellevue, was inducted into the Wayne State Athletics Hall of Fame on Sept. 30, 1995.
Indoor Turf Field
Renovations to the Indoor Athletic Facility