Texas Wesleyan President Frederick Slabach said Tuesday that more than 100 students have already requested information about attending the university in conjunction with the addition of football.
Speaking during his second town hall meeting of the semester, Slabach told a crowd of around 80 people at the Baker Building that the students are interested in participating in football, band and pep squad.
The announcement that football is returning to Wesleyan and that women’s lacrosse would be added was made Feb. 10.
“We made the big announcement,” Slabach said. “We got a lot of publicity for it, a lot of excitement, a lot of our alumni are contacting us, there’s a lot of buzz on social media so I’m told.”
Slabach also said that the new football program is entirely self-funded by the increased enrollment that will be created by adding the sport, and that student fees will not be increased to cover the cost of the program.
“The funding source for football is not taking money away from anyone and it’s not money that would be there absent the start of football,” Slabach said. “The revenue generated from the increased enrollment from the student athletes themselves will actually pay all the cost associated with running football.”
Slabach announced that the Office of Marketing & Communication has printed shirts saying “Texas Wesleyan football undefeated since 1941.” A head coach has yet to be named.
“We got some just amazing candidates for the coaching job,” Slabach said. “What we wanted to make sure was that the person we pick fit with our mission. We want to win, but education comes first.”
Slabach gave the Staff Hero award, for a person who represents their department, to setup coordinator Bruce Terry of Plant Operations.
Terry said it is the first time he won the award.
“I really appreciate the award because it’s always good to be recognized for doing your job,” he said.
Slabach also talked about the need for a new student center, saying that the facility will be built on the southern end of the mall. At Saturday’s 125th Anniversary Gala, Wesleyan was able to announce the start of a $20 million capital campaign to fund the facility.
“It’s an extremely important part of student engagement to be able to have all the student services and student activities and organizations in a nice new facility,” Slabach said. “Student engagement is key to attention so of course this is big part of our student attention effort.”
Brian Franks, executive director of Facilities Development Operations, & Emergency Services, talked about repair and maintenance plans for the summer. These include replacing the Stella Russell hall elevators and modernizing the Brown-Lupton Campus Center.
“We have building improvements to accommodate for new athletic programs,” Franks said. “The Grill Works will relocated to the Baker Building. To make that happen we have a kitchen expansion scheduled as well as creating more dining space.”
Franks said the first floor of the center will be converted into a weight room for the new football team and the second floor of and loft area will be converted to office space for the football program.
Franks also announced that four emergency call boxes will be placed at student residence areas in the next few weeks, and that lighting in parking lots will be upgraded by late spring.
Franks also noted that intramural field should be complete by mid-spring.
“By the time the warmer weather gets here the grass will be developed and students will be able to use the field for the first time,” Franks said