The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 25, 2013

$9 million donation for wrestling facility on hold at Bucknell University

By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item

— LEWISBURG — A privately funded, $9 million, 16,000-square-foot wrestling training and sports leadership facility at Bucknell University is on hold, at least for the time being, its operation and maintenance costs too rich for the school’s budget right now, officials said.

Bucknell Spokesman Andy Hirsch confirmed in an email statement Monday that the proposal has not been “quashed,” as media reports stated last week.

Rather, “the administration is discussing with the donors whether there are other areas where they might want to direct these resources or how their original intentions might be satisfied,” the statement said. What those other areas might be were not listed in the statement.

The school’s board of trustees and leadership said they are “grateful for the $9 million pledge from two donors for the proposed wrestling and student leadership center,” the statement reads.

However, the two bodies decided it is not “financially sustainable to move forward with the proposal at this time,” owing to the annual operating and maintenance costs such a facility would add to the university’s budget, though what those costs are were not available at press time.

The concept is a training and practice facility adjoining the east side of Sojka Pavilion that would include a student leadership facility to be available to all Bucknell students.

The planning commission for East Buffalo Township, where the facility would be located, recommended in September that township supervisors approve the facilities plan, a training and practice facility adjoining the east side of Sojka Pavilion. It also would include a student leadership facility to be available to all Bucknell students. Township supervisors subsequently signed off on the facility,  

In a note to the campus in October, University President John Bravman said Bucknell is “proud of our wrestling program and the way in which the team represents Bucknell. We recognize that the program is in need of new practice facilities, and we will continue to look for ways in which we can address those needs.”

Bucknell’s wrestling program was dropped in 2001 to meet Title IX requirements but reinstated in 2005, owing in large part to Bill Graham, a 1962 alumnus and Bucknell wrestler, whose gift of $5.6 million helped bring back the sport, coach Dan Wirnsberger said.