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Eric Peterson, Published May 20 2013

VIDEO: Concordia names locker room facility

MOORHEAD – The new locker room facility being built at Jake Christiansen Athletic Complex now has a name.

Concordia broke ground on the “Wayne and Beverly Thorson Athletic Center” on Monday. The $2.9 million project is slated to be completed in the spring of 2014.

“It’s going to be beautiful,” said Cobbers head football coach Terry Horan. “This is a huge plus and it was needed.”

The “Sanford Health Training Room” is also part of the new locker room building.

The Thorsons, Sanford Health and Ron and Karen Offutt were the lead donors for the building, with the largest gift reaching seven figures, according to Larry Papenfuss, who is the Director of the Concordia Annual Fund and External Relations.

“To have the realization of a dream really, to improve our facilities, is just so gratifying,” Papenfuss said.

Around 50 people – a group that included Concordia President William Craft – gathered for Monday’s ceremony. Craft spoke briefly to the crowd.

The locker room will be around 10,000 square feet and have 140 lockers for the football team and 40 lockers for the women’s soccer team.

The current locker room held around 70 lockers for the football team, which dresses more than 100 players for game days.

“If you would have walked in there on game day, we were using the hallway,” said Cobbers head baseball coach Bucky Burgau, a former equipment manager for the football team. “We were using the equipment room as a place for the freshmen to dress because they had to give up their locker room for the visiting team.”

The locker room is the third and final phase in the “Update The Jake” project. The total cost is expected to be $5.6 million when completed.

Papenfuss was the school’s athletic director during the first two phases. Those phases included installing artificial turf on the football and baseball field, paving the parking lots and tearing down and relocating storage sheds.

Ground breaking for the first phase of the project was in May 2010.

“This has to be one of the most rewarding parts to my time as athletic director,” Papenfuss said.

Current athletic director Rich Glas called the new locker room a “huge step” for the athletic program.

The football team is slated to have more than 50 freshmen join the team next fall. The current locker room, which will still be used, was built in 1966.

“This will be a great facility for generations to come,” Glas said. “We didn’t have enough room. … When you have like 70 lockers for 140 kids, that makes it a little crowded.”

The project is expected to take nine months to complete. The dedication of the facility is slated for homecoming in 2014.

“When you are coming down 8th Street, it’s kind of the front door to our institution,” Horan said. “It might not be the most important room in the house, but it’s certainly the most visible when you are coming in on 8th Street.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com