Altru pledges $10 million to UND for indoor practice facilityAltru Health System has pledged a $10 million gift to UND through the UND Foundation in support of a sports medicine partnership between Altru and UND, school and Altru officials announced Wednesday.
By: Wayne Nelson, Grand Forks Herald
UND scored big Wednesday, a day before its first football game as a full Division I member.
The big win: A $10 million pledge from Altru Health System in support of a sports medicine partnership between the Grand Forks healthcare group and the university.
Specifically, the gift will serve as a major catalyst in UND’s efforts to develop an indoor practice facility adjacent to Memorial Stadium. The $19.5 million project, UND officials say, is needed to help the school’s athletic program compete at the Division I level.
“It’s a game-changer,” UND Athletic Director Brian Faison said. “It’s a huge day for UND athletics. It’s a project we’ve been working on for a number of years. To get to this point, gets us off the mark.”
There is no timetable as to when ground will be broke for the project.
“As soon as we have the money in pledges or hard cash, we’ll break ground,” Faison said. “But we’d like to start as quickly as we can.”
Faison said approximately $11 million has been pledged so far for the project.
But Altru’s gift helps move the project from the possibility to reality stage.
“This is the kind of gift that will help develop other major gifts,” Faison said.
The partnership between Altru and UND not only will be the driving force for the facility but it also will benefit the university’s sports medicine and strength and conditioning programs.
Altru has been UND’s sports medicine provider for more than 20 years.
“The partnership is part of a much larger initiative to improve the health of our entire community,” said Altru CEO Dave Molmen. “This investment extends our educational partnership and provides a state-of-the-art educational laboratory for UND’s students to gain necessary experience in the field of sports medicine and thus, help feed our community with needed health professionals.
“In addition to training sports medicine professionals, the partnership will conduct research that will advance sports medicine knowledge and techniques. As we like to say, ‘By working together, we all get better.’”
UND President Robert Kelley said the pledge will help improve the quality of life in the region.
“This is an important first step toward building a world-class sports medicine program,” Kelley said. “When completed, the indoor training facility will include space for academic and clinical studies on human performance and conditioning, which will greatly enhance the university’s and Altru’s roles in sports medicine.”
Indoor field, track
Of the $10 million, $9 million will serve as the leadership gift for the indoor practice facility. The remaining $1 million will support replacement of the Alerus Center football turf.
The indoor practice facility is expected to help all sports. But football, track and field, and soccer will be the biggest beneficiaries.
The facility will include a 100-yard artificial football field; an eight-lane, 300-meter track; and seating for 1,500 fans.
The football offices, now located in Memorial Stadium, also will be housed in the facility. Eventually, the sports medicine and strength and conditioning programs at the school will be based in the building.
UND is entering the most challenging era of its athletic history as the school now competes exclusively at the Division I level.
For football, the facility is expected to make a big difference.
“This is huge for us,” UND coach Chris Mussman said. “It’s big in that we will have the ability to train all year. We’ll be able to get our spring practices in and have more time in the summer for recovery and strength and conditioning.
“And it’s huge for recruiting. To be able to show a recruit that you have a full 100-yard football field indoors is big. This will put us toward the top at the (Football Championship Subdivision) level in all facilities.”
UND track and field coach Kevin Galbraith has coached at the school for a year. During his interview at UND, he was told the indoor practice facility was a possibility.
“This is one of the major reasons why I came here,” Galbraith said. “We talked about the possibility during the interview process. And it gives us a chance to host (track and field) meets.
“It will be immeasurable for recruiting.”
Nelson reports on sports. Call him at (701) 780-1268; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1268; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.