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Daemen Unveils New Academic and Wellness Center | News

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Daemen Unveils New Academic and Wellness Center
News, Schools
Daemen Unveils New Academic and Wellness Center

An important milestone in the growth of Daemen College was marked Sept. 17 with the official opening of its new Academic and Wellness Center, a $5.6 million refurbishment project that provides state-of-the-art learning facilities for health-related academic programs and fitness and recreational space for the college community.

The opening event included a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours of the completely refurbished building at 4433 Main St., located across the street from Daemen’s main campus.

“This is an exciting time at Daemen as we augment our exceptional facilities with the completion of this ambitious renovation project, which is a major step in expanding the college’s campus footprint,” said Daemen President Gary A. Olson. “We are excited to open the doors to this new building and to provide our students a world-class facility that exemplifies excellence on our campus.”

Dr. Michael Brogan, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college, said, “The transformation of this building is truly remarkable, and we’ve created a vital hub that joins academics and wellness. The advanced technology capabilities in the classrooms and labs will take learning to an even higher level and add a new educational dimension to our exceptional academic programs.”

Among the dignitaries in attendance at the opening celebration were Dale Demyanick, chair of the Daemen Board of Trustees; Amherst Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein; Adam Sassone, governor’s representative for the Western New York region; Assemblyman Robin Schimminger; Assemblyman Ray Walter; Ronald Battaglia, principal at Flynn Battaglia Architects; and Chris Hogan, partner at R&P Oak Hill Development.

At the opening celebration, a congressional commendation from Congressman Chris Collins was presented. Also received were a certificate of recognition from State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, and a New York State Assembly citation from Assemblyman Ray Walter.

The two-story Academic and Wellness Center is home to classrooms and lab areas for Daemen’s physical therapy, athletic training and health care studies programs, where classes were held for the first time at the start of the fall semester. High-tech instructional tools in the multimedia classrooms will be integral in enhancing student engagement and hands-on learning in these well-established academic programs.

In particular, the physical therapy lecture hall is designed as a multipurpose room for either traditional lectures or for collaborative small group learning opportunities.

“The space is equipped with a state-of-the-art camera that allows instructional demonstrations to be projected on to four large screens so they may be easily viewed from anywhere in the room,” explained Dr. Greg Ford, chairman of the Daemen Physical Therapy Department. “With all that this building offers, we have created an academic environment that will enrich the educational experience and better prepare our students for future clinical practice.”

The building, which is ideally located in close proximity to Daemen’s main campus, also houses student lounges and faculty offices. Another key component of the extensive renovation project is a 1,700-square-foot modern fitness center with more than $200,000 in the latest cardio equipment with plugins available for mobile devices, as well as free weights and weight machines. Updated locker rooms and shower facilities are also available. Open to the college community, the fitness center is designed for users with a range of athletic abilities as well as for strength and conditioning purposes for Daemen’s nearly 200 intercollegiate student-athletes.

“The opening of this remarkable center marks another great advancement at Daemen and provides us a modern venue for various fitness activities for students and the entire campus community,” said Bridget Niland, director of athletics.

Along with the fitness center, the new facility houses a refurbished gymnasium with the Wildcats logo prominently displayed on the gym floor. Already being used for Daemen athletics team practices, the gym is also slated for use in an expanded schedule of recreational and intramural programming. It will further serve as supplemental space for the college’s popular youth sports camps and potentially for area sports activities.

Formerly a YMCA Buffalo Niagara branch that moved to a new facility, Daemen purchased the building in 2011 with the goal of repurposing it for college use. A planning committee envisioned the facility as a highly functional, multi-use academic and recreational site for faculty, staff and students.

Over the past year, the more than 25,000-square-foot building has undergone a complete transformation inside and out. Among the major project work has been resurfacing of the building’s exterior; creation of a new front entrance way; reconfiguring of space usage and renovations to create new classrooms, labs, offices, and lounges; development of the fitness center that included coverage of the original facility’s pool area; and a new heating and cooling system.

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