Sport at the University of New England received a great boost on Saturday, with the launching of the SportUNE Development Fund on September 21st at the Annual Sports Awards, and coincided with the University’s anniversary celebrations of 75 Years of Sport.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Jim Barber launched the Development Fund which has an initial target goal of $4.5 million to go towards revitalising SportUNE facilities, and forms part of the wider UNE suite of Strategic Capital Development initiatives.
At the launch, Professor Barber committed to matching the funds raised, bringing the ultimate goal to $9 million.
The SportUNE Development Fund will involve a range of projects, including development of a UNE Aquatic Centre, the upgrade of locker rooms and amenities for students and community members, and the rejuvenation of the SportUNE swimming pool and tennis courts.
Professor Barber emphasised the importance of sport at the University. “As we celebrate 75 years of sport at UNE, it’s clear to see that sport is being enjoyed more than ever,” Professor Barber said. “In particular, it is such a valuable part of the on-campus experience. It’s exciting to know that SportUNE will soon be offering even better facilities for students, staff and the community.”
CEO of SportUNE, David Schmude, highlighted how much the Development Fund means to UNE and the local community. “The new and upgraded facilities are going to strengthen our capacity to provide first-class sporting facilities at UNE. Obviously this is great for current and future students, but it is also great for Armidale,” he said. “SportUNE is very grateful to the Vice-Chancellor for making the commitment to double the funds.”
Anita Taylor, Director of Advancement and Alumni, said the sporting precinct is one of the pillars supporting the whole UNE experience. “The SportUNE Development fund is an important component of the University’s Strategic Capital Development program. We can’t help but be inspired by UNE’s achievements over the last 75 years and share SportUNE’s vision for the next 75!”