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Groundbreaking Ceremony Launches New Multi-Purpose Sports Venue
[A photograph is available for media use at: http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/walkercenter.jpg]
Bringing Clarkson University's circa 1930's Walker Arena back to life took a giant step forward yesterday when Assemblyman Darrell Aubertine, Clarkson University President Tony Collins, Potsdam School District Patrick Brady and several coaches and young athletes gathered to mark the official beginning of renovations to the venerable old stadium that will include a new roof, new synthetic turf and the front facade to make the building look as it did nearly 70 years ago.
In his opening remarks Collins talked about the importance of partnerships, emphasizing that the project is truly a partnership with the community. He thanked Assemblyman Aubertine for his unwavering support of the project and his success in securing $1 million from New York State for the renovation. "We are focused on making this area a great place to live, work and enjoy ourselves," Collins said.
"We don't have a great outdoor climate many months of the year and this facility will allow many of our student athletes to practice and participate in athletic endeavors during those months," Collins added. He told the audience he is optimistic the new roof will be on before the winter snow arrives.
Brady told Collins and Aubertine how much he appreciated the partnership that is bringing the Walker Center back to life and said, "This place holds a special place in the memory of the Potsdam community. In fact if you look around you can almost hear the roar of a distant crowd of a goal scored or a concert being played."
The Potsdam Central School District will be entering a capital project in the spring that will include renovation of its gymnasium and playing fields. During that time many of the district's programs and athletes will be displaced. "This project couldn't have come along at a more opportune time," remarked Brady. "We appreciate the generosity of the University and the support of Assemblyman Aubertine."
Walker Arena was last used for Clarkson hockey during the 1990-1991season. Since then the building had been used for intramural sports and as a practice field for the community. It was closed recently because the roof leaks and the artificial surface is too deteriorated to play on. The good news in yesterday's announcement is that by spring we should once again be hearing the roar of fans coming from Walker Arena.
PHOTO CAPTION: Clarkson University has received $1 million dollars from New York State to renovate Walker Arena into a multi-purpose sports venue that will be used by both the University and the community. Assemblyman Darrel Aubertine was instrumental in securing the funding for the project. Shown in the photo are from left to right: (kneeling) Cory Burcume, Brianna Bicknell, Sebastian Grimberg, Frances Clark, Corey O'Connor, Lindsey Grigg, Katelyn Wagner, Cale Samuel: (standing) Denise Currie, Todd Kaiser, Nate Norquest, Adam Webster, Tom Caruso, Pat Brady, Tony Collins, Darrel Aubertine, Steve Yianoukos, Kathryn Johnson, Abbie Peer, Bill Bergan, Laurel Kane, Willi Steinrotter.