Lourdes University proposes expansion

SYLVANIA, OH (Toledo News Now) - Lourdes University proposed an expansion they hope will draw in more students. The university has been purchasing pieces of land on the corner of McCord and Brint Road since 2006, and officials are hoping to use the land for a new athletic and recreation center.

Lourdes officials said the expansion is a part of a larger plan passed in 2008 aimed at drawing in more students.

"We've been growing fairly steadily for the past seven, eight years. We want to continue that growth, and we really want to bring young men and women from outside of Toledo here to our community," said Bob Helmer, president of the university.

In the past few years, Lourdes has gone from a college to a university. It increased its academic programs and now has a population of 2,600 students, but Helmer hopes to see that number grow to 3,000.

"Students today look for certain amenities. One of which is fitness," Helmer said.

Athletics became a part of campus two years ago.

"Athletics have been a new experience here at Lourdes, one that has brought a school spirit and a school pride," Helmer said.

However, the school's basketball and volleyball teams have to play in the Tam-O-Shanter in Sylvania. Lourdes is hoping the purchased land will be the home of its new athletic and recreation center. It will have competition volleyball and basketball courts, plus locker rooms, a fitness center and room for programs like yoga and pilates.

"It has the building we need, but it also has an incredible landscaping," Helmer said.

Students seemed supportive of the project.

"It's wonderful. That's what we need around here," Kevin Ford said. "We'll have a little more energy, and [young people] pump us up and it changes how we look at things."

"Most students in high school are very involved in sports," Shannon Buccini said. "So for them to have the sports aspect as well as the higher education at a great university, I think it would be wonderful."

Lourdes is working with the city of Sylvania to get its preliminary plans approved. They hope to begin construction within months, and have its new building by sometime in 2014.

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