CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A $1.5 million donation from the Wehrle family will help build a new sports and fitness center at the University of Charleston -- the final stage of the campus's decade-long overhaul.
H.B. Wehrle and his wife, Cecilia, donated $1.25 million for the new athletic center, in addition to $250,000 from the H.B. Wehrle Foundation.
The sports and fitness center is the last remaining piece to the $100 million campus-wide renovations, and will provide recreational alternatives for students as well as a more modern sports venue for athletes and spectators.
"It's in the middle of campus -- something everyone sees when they come here. Athletes, of course, are very interested, but it's also an accent piece that's blending in, yet making a very visible focal point for students and visitors," said UC President Ed Welch.
The new facility would also work as a venue for commencement ceremonies and other UC events, while continuing to host summer camps, sports tournaments and other community functions.
H.B. "Bernie" Wehrle serves on the Board of Trustees at UC, and said he hopes the gift encourages others to invest in the growth of the school, as well as the community.
"We've always been pleased with the educational opportunities that UC provides and the economic benefits the Charleston-area receives from UC's growth," Wehrle said in a news release. "In my opinion, UC is a smart investment in our community and I am pleased to continue our support."
Over the past decade, UC has constructed three new residence halls, a new parking garage, an apartment complex and a new pharmacy school. In addition, major renovations were made to Riggleman Hall and the Geary Student Union.
The Eddie King Gym was the first building on campus, constructed in 1947. It is the only UC facility that has not been renovated, and Welch said it's a necessary upgrade.