GameAbove, a diverse group of Eastern Michigan University alumni, has provided the school’s 2019 Mid-American Conference-winning men’s golf team with an $8 million gift to build and operate a state-of-the-art indoor training facility that will be used by both the men’s and women’s links teams.
Approved by the university’s Board of Regents, construction on the GameAbove Golf Performance Center is expected to start in the spring of 2020 and could be operational by 2021.
GameAbove’s investment, which will include $6 million to $6.5 million toward construction and the remainder for 12 years of operational costs, should enable the Eagles’ golf teams to compete at the highest level and further enhances the program’s recruiting capabilities.
“A truly exceptional golf program deserves the best equipment and facilities to remain competitive in today’s collegiate experience,” said Denis Wolcott, a spokesman for GameAbove. “The group of dedicated Eastern Michigan University alumni who are behind GameAbove is excited and proud to further enhance the total academic and scholastic environment at EMU.
“We also are honoring the incredible 27 years of coaching excellence by Bruce Cunningham,” says Wolcott of the EMU men’s golf coach to whom the building will be dedicated. “Bruce has truly built and guided one of the best collegiate golf programs in the conference.”
The new facility will be built on the Ypsilanti university’s West Campus. It will encompass approximately 15,000 square feet and include locker rooms, offices, indoor putting and chipping areas, and simulators to support both indoor and outdoor training. This facility will allow the golf teams to train at a high level, even during inclement weather.
As part of today’s announcement, GameAbove will deposit its gift into a donor-advised fund dedicated for the new golf facility. Additionally, after the first 12 years of operation, there is an option to extend donations for operating expenses for another eight years.
“Our men’s and women’s golf programs are highly respected, and this gift provides the foundation to take the programs to the next level – with facilities that will allow our students to compete with the best in the country,” says Rhonda Longworth, vice president for academic and student affairs at EMU. “At the same time, we are pleased to have already initiated processes to provide our faculty and students with access to the funds from the initial $3.5 million gift under the Faculty First and Students Matter Most initiatives developed by GameAbove.”
Earlier this month, GameAbove announced $500,000 in grants to support Ozone House to help that organization complete its new facility as part of its ongoing mission to help youth in crisis, as well as fund a much-needed social worker position that will provide case support for EMU students and the local community.
“GameAbove recognizes the importance of ongoing support, intervention, and assistance being provided to hundreds of young people in the greater Ypsilanti area and at EMU in order to help them onto the path of safety, stability, and productive lives,” Wolcott says. “Providing construction funding for Ozone House and providing a clinical social worker to EMU are fundamental to this purpose. These resources will help many individuals, some of whom could include Eastern Michigan University students as well as youth who dream of going to college or additional education.”