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wellsAurora, N.Y. – Wells College announced plans Tuesday to renovate the Frances Tarlton Farenthold Athletic Wing, a primary extension of the Schwartz Athletic Center that serves as the hub of intercollegiate athletics on campus. Extensive renovations are expected to be completed in time for the 2015-16 academic year.

Planned improvements include lighting upgrades, a wall-to-wall gymnasium floor, increased seating capacity for spectators and increased support spaces for athletic training. In addition to its immediate impact on student-athletes across the College's 14 NCAA Division III varsity programs, the new facility will better support the Wells educational experience including physical education courses and student life activities.

"The current facility has served us well, but these renovations will allow us to provide the best available student-athlete experience possible while supporting the overall mission of the College," said Director of Athletics Michael Lindberg. "These new facilities will reflect the pride our athletic teams have and the campus spirit inherent in the Wells community."

As a result of this spring's upgrades, the new space will have:

An expanded gym floor: The current portable floor will be replaced with a wall-to-wall maple wooden floor, increasing the functionality of the 12,000-square foot space. Increased seating capacity: Permanent seating will be added to the space, increasing the capacity to over 700 spectators. Athletic training room: The athletic training staff at Wells will have dedicated space available to treat student-athletes from home and visiting teams within the Schwartz Athletic Center. Multi-use capacity: The ability to cover and protect the wooden floor with a retractable floor cover will allow the College to hold events, including dances, concerts, commencements and other activities, in the new space. Off-season use for outdoor sports: Netting will be added to the upper walls, allowing outdoor sports the ability to use the space in the off-season. New restrooms. Consistent with the College's commitment to inclusivity, the new facilities will be gender-inclusive and fully accessible. Energy efficient lighting: The existing lights will be upgraded to environmentally sustainable, energy-efficient fixtures with motion sensors and dimmers.

"The renovated space will immediately impact our campus and the surrounding community," remarked Provost and Dean of the College, Dr. Cindy Speaker. "The facility will provide our varsity sports teams with much-needed physical upgrades. Furthermore, a broad array of new programming for the entire student body will be possible as a result of the renovations project."

In addition to academic, co-curricular and wellness offerings, the newly-renovated space will be utilized for intramural and recreational activities. With added seating capacity, the new facility will also provide community space for large events such as concerts, indoor commencement, or admission open house days, both for Wells and the surrounding community, including Peachtown Elementary School and the Southern Cayuga School District.

Opened to the public in May of 1980, the facility is named to honor Frances Tarlton Farenthold, who served as Wells president from 1976 to 1980. The first female president in Wells' history, Ms. Farenthold was a strong advocate for women's athletics and construction of the new wing was the first of many improvements to the College's athletics facilities.

The renovation was made possible by a generous lead gift from long-time Wells supporters, the J.M. McDonald Foundation of Evergreen, Colorado. The College will continue to raise additional funds throughout the spring and summer.

Wells College is a nationally recognized private coeducational liberal arts college located in Aurora, New York, on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake. Established in 1868, Wells has remained committed to providing a quality education to students through small, interactive classes in multiple disciplines and engaging coursework relevant to life in a changing world. Integrated hands-on learning opportunities, a connected community, and diverse educational opportunities give students the ability to take part in their own educations and prepare them to be active citizens and leaders.

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