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Franklin College broke ground on the construction of the Johnson Memorial Health Athletic Annex on campus on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. The ceremony took place at the southwest corner of Park Avenue and Second Street. Guests were able to witness the historic event and view schematics of the 10,819 square-foot facility, anticipated to be completed in late fall 2022.

In December 2020, the college announced a one million dollar commitment from Johnson Memorial Health (JMH) to construct the indoor multi-use facility. In August 2021, the college announced a gift commitment from Indiana University head football coach Tom Allen to construct a weight room in the facility in honor of his father, Tom Allen Sr., a 1961 alumnus of the college.

Franklin College President Kerry N. Prather welcomed guests, including officials from Johnson Memorial Health, City of Franklin officials, community members, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and friends of the college.

“The significance of the Johnson Memorial Health Athletic Annex cannot be overstated,” Prather said. “It will be the first new indoor athletic facility constructed on campus since Spurlock Center was built in 1975, and then subsequently renovated and expanded in 1996. This construction also reflects institutional progress and our commitment to supporting students with the resources they want and need.”

Johnson Memorial Health President and CEO David H. Dunkle, M.D., a 1994 graduate of Franklin College, also addressed the crowd.

“Johnson Memorial Health is very proud to partner with Franklin College on the construction and plans of the athletic annex. JMH values our community partners and Franklin College is a very long and trusted partner,” said Dunkle.

The college and JMH have shared a partnership for decades according to Prather. JMH has hosted college undergraduate interns, and more recently graduate-level students in various clinical experiences. The partnership grew in 2018 with the opening of their shared space across town that houses the Franklin College Graduate Health Science Center. JMH also facilitates the employment of the nurse who staffs the college’s campus health center. And student-athletes are served by JMH as the preferred provider of health care services.

The facility is being designed by Elkhart-based Jones Petrie Rafinski (JPR). The college has engaged Columbus-based Dunlap General & Mechanical Contractors as the general contractor.

The annex will feature retractable batting cages for use by the baseball and softball teams, along with similar areas suitable for men’s and women’s golf. With the hitting cages retracted, the open artificially-turfed space will provide indoor practice opportunities for many sports. The annex will also add a second weight room to the campus.

The college’s athletic program has expanded significantly in recent years, with nearly 44 percent of its student body participating in the 21 men’s and women’s sports. The most recent expansion and renovation of the college’s athletic venues was in 2011 with the addition of outdoor facilities for tennis, softball and track and field in Grizzly Park as well as the renovation of Stewart “Red” Faught Stadium, which added turf field and lights for the football, soccer and lacrosse teams. According to Prather, the annex will impact student-athletes by providing space for skill development and conditioning activities in and out of season.

For more information, contact the Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185.

Founded in 1834, Franklin College is a residential liberal arts and sciences institution located 20 minutes south of Indianapolis. Franklin offers a wide array of undergraduate majors as well as master’s degree programs in Physician Assistant Studies and Athletic Training. The unique curriculum merges classroom instruction with immersive experiences, research opportunities and study away programs. Students participate in 21 NCAA Division III sports, Greek Life, musical and theatre productions, and more than 40 student organizations. As the first college in Indiana to become coeducational with the admission of women, Franklin welcomes diversity of thought, belief and person into a community that values equity and inclusion. Franklin College maintains a voluntary association with the American Baptist Churches USA. For more information, visit www.FranklinCollege.edu. Find Franklin College on Facebook and follow @FranklinCollege on Twitter.

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