Our current gymnasium was built in 1961 largely as a place for recreation and activity classes. Today, the College’s intercollegiate basketball and volleyball teams practice and play on its courts, and in inclement weather the baseball and softball teams practice there as well. For the 700 students living on campus, many of whom seek to use the gym for recreational and intramural play— sometimes holding matches as late as 1 a.m. to avoid scheduling conflicts—the situation is untenable.

A new facility that could serve as both a convocation and recreation center is desperately needed. With seating for up to 3,000, such a center would serve the economic development needs of the region and the academic needs of the College, while enabling UVa-Wise to compete with its peers in offering high-quality athletic facilities. The College owes its future students the opportunity to compete in intercollegiate, intramural, and recreational sports—without requiring them to compete for space in which to play.




Athletics — both intercollegiate and intramural — mean a great deal to our students. About half of all students at UVa-Wise participate in some form of athletic competition, and many others support the teams as band members, cheerleaders, and event organizers. Aside from evidence that involvement in athletics improves student satisfaction and academic performance—our athletes have a higher graduation rate than our nonathletes— for many students, involvement in athletics can open the door to college itself. An investment in our athletic program is an investment in opportunity, making a college degree possible for many who could not otherwise aspire to higher education.

The Commonwealth of Virginia does not allow public funds to support athletics. Currently, the College is only able to award about a third of the scholarships offered by its intercollegiate competitors.We need an endowment, both for scholarships and operational expenses, to support a strong athletic program that fosters support both on and off campus.