Southern Oregon University President Linda Schott, members of the local DeBoer family and others will gather outside the university’s new athletic pavilion Thursday morning to acknowledge the role of philanthropy in the project and unveil the facility’s new name.
The DeBoers and their signature company, Lithia Motors, will be recognized during the 10 a.m. event for the generosity that has made completion of the athletic pavilion possible. Lithia and the DeBoer family have pledged $1 million to the pavilion project and another $1 million to fund scholarships for many of the student-athletes who will compete in the new facility. Several other donors have pledged an additional $600,000 in gifts for the ongoing construction project, which includes renovations to the Raider grandstand.
“The willing support of all these donors has transformed this project, and will have a lasting effect on our university,” President Schott said. “The fund-raising did more than allow us to make ends meet; it enabled us to add dimension and texture to the project.”
Three generations of the DeBoer family have been among the most generous supporters of SOU. Lithia Motors – which was founded in 1946 by Walt DeBoer and incorporated in 1968 by his son, Sid – is one of Oregon’s three current Fortune 500 companies.
“We enthusiastically support the students, academic programs and athletics of Southern Oregon University,” said Bryan DeBoer, Lithia’s president and CEO.
“Much like SOU, Lithia Motors promotes an environment of excellence and continuous improvement for our people,” DeBoer said. “We join with all members of this community in recognizing Southern Oregon University as the educational provider of choice for learners throughout our region and celebrate this significant development to the Ashland campus.”
The new athletic pavilion received $22 million in bond funding from the state, but the need to demolish rather than salvage some portions of the previous athletic facility added $2 million to the project cost. The adjacent Student Recreation Center is separately funded by fees that SOU students levied upon themselves.
The new pavilion’s competition gym will seat more than 1,400 fans for men’s and women’s basketball games and wrestling matches, and women’s volleyball games. The building will also have locker rooms, three classrooms, academic offices, an academic conference room, SOU’s athletic offices, an athletic conference room, a ticket booth, an athletic training and sports medicine room, wrestling practice room, equipment room and storage areas. The Student Recreation Center will include a recreational gym, indoor running track, fitness center, climbing wall, multipurpose rooms, an outdoor programs area, staff offices, locker rooms and storage areas.