Roadrunners to play in ‘1st Source Bank Fieldhouse’

Published 2:27 pm Thursday, December 2, 2021

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Southwestern Michigan College and 1st Source Bank announced Thursday that with a major gift from the 1st Source Foundation, the remodeled athletic facility in the Charles O. Zollar Building on the Dowagiac campus will be named “1st Source Bank Fieldhouse.”

In addition to the return of nationally-ranked cross country teams to competition this fall, the SMC Board of Trustees in May authorized the return of NJCAA men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball and men’s wrestling for Fall 2022. The college will also create a pep band and a women’s competitive dance team. In order to modernize existing facilities and create a home court for the Roadrunners, a major renovation project began in October.

“We are excited to revive our athletics program as part of providing an affordable total college life experience for our students,” said Thomas F. Jerdon, Board Chairman. “1st Source Foundation’s gift will be transformational for SMC, and it is a marquee example of local organizations and businesses getting behind this growth opportunity.”

“We are humbled and grateful for this generous gift from 1st Source Foundation,” said Dr. Joe Odenwald, SMC President. “It will help provide amazing opportunities for over 100 student-athletes per year to continue the activities they love at the collegiate level, to be part of a dynamic team, and to compete for championships while preparing for meaningful careers. It is also a tremendous vote of confidence in what we are doing at SMC to make high-quality education more affordable for everyone. Through our long partnership, it has become clear that 1st Source Bank supports improving college attainment rates and the economic vitality of the whole region.”

The $400,000 gift from 1st Source Foundation secures naming rights through 2032 for the entire competition area including the gymnasium, court and seating space. To create a first-class destination venue, the overall project includes replacement of the original gymnasium floor with a new high-grade basketball and volleyball surface, replacement of the original bleachers with a new system that will meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and provide better comfort and accessibility for fans of all ages. This project also includes installation of energy-efficient LED overhead lights, installation of a new video scoreboard and audio system, construction of new state-of-the-art locker rooms for the Roadrunners, reconfiguration of the existing locker rooms for visiting teams, the addition of an Officials’ Room, and construction of a second-floor suite of coaches’ offices and gathering area – with a glass wall overlooking the court – suitable for receptions, recruiting events and premium viewing experiences. The 1st Source Bank Fieldhouse is expected to be ready for use by student-athletes in July 2022.

“We are honored to support Southwestern Michigan College and its vision for a state-of-the-art field house where student-athletes, faculty, staff and spectators alike will benefit from the new facilities,” said Shelli Alexander, Regional President, 1st Source Bank. “For nearly 60 years, Southwestern Michigan College has made a fundamental difference in our community by providing quality, affordable education – we view this gift as an investment in our future leaders. We are pleased to help Southwestern Michigan College provide an exceptional collegiate experience, right here at home. We also know that athletic teams and band programs have a positive impact on student engagement and completion rates. That is the main purpose of this grant, to ensure more students from our region obtain a college degree and do so in as short a time as possible.”