Ground broken for Bay athletic addition
ESCANABA — Representatives of Bay College and the Hannahville Indian Community spoke at a groundbreaking ceremony for an athletic addition to the Northern Lights YMCA building, where Bay’s gymnasium facility is located. The ceremony was held outside the Northern Lights YMCA building Wednesday afternoon.
According to Bay Vice President of Operations Christine Williams, the groundbreaking ceremony marked the beginning of construction for the project’s first phase.
“That’s the locker rooms, and office, and training facility, and meeting space,” Williams said about this phase of the project. Two home team locker rooms, two away team locker rooms, and a locker room for coaches and referees will be added in this phase.
Site work for the project — which will include work related to excavation, concrete, structural steel, roofing, and masonry — is expected to start next week, Williams said. The first phase of the athletic addition should be ready for use next summer.
“Right now, occupancy is set for (the) beginning of July,” she said.
Williams said the project’s second phase will include the addition of a new public entrance to Bay’s gymnasium facility in the Northern Lights YMCA building, as well as a lounge for Bay College alumni.
Bay College President Laura Coleman welcomed those in attendance.
“Thank you all very, very much for being here — (we) sincerely appreciate the support that we’re getting from the community,” she said.
Coleman also introduced some of the people present at the ceremony — including the event’s second speaker, Bay College Board of Trustees Treasurer Eric Lundin.
“Bay College continues to focus on its triangle of success — we consider that academics, arts and, now, athletics,” Lundin said. He said completion of the athletic addition will have a positive effect on the lives of Bay’s student athletes and will assist the college in its future recruitment efforts.
Hannahville Indian Community Tribal Council Vice-Chairperson Elaine Meshigaud addressed attendees. In a June 2018 meeting, the Bay College Board of Trustees accepted the Hannahville Indian Community’s contribution of $4.8 million through November 2042 towards the first phase of the athletic addition and voted in favor of going out for a $3 million private bond. The bond will be paid back over the next 24 years, and the Hannahville Indian Community will make regular contributions to the college to cover both the bond itself and $1.8 million in interest.
Meshigaud said the Hannahville Indian Community is pleased to support this project.
“We’re always glad to give to the surrounding (communities),” she said.
Along with Meshigaud, Tribal Council Secretary Tammy Sagataw and Tribal Council Member Tonto Wandahsega were present at Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony.
“I just hope this partnership shows that everything we do comes from the heart,” Wandahsega said after the ceremony.
Bay College Athletic Director and Men’s Basketball Coach Matt Johnson was the final speaker at the groundbreaking ceremony. He gave his thanks to Bay’s administration and board of trustees, the Hannahville Indian Community, local residents, and the staff of the Northern Lights YMCA.
“Obviously, they’ve sacrificed an awful lot to allow us to be able to do what we’ve done, and I can’t say — from the entire campus and our athletes — how much we appreciate that,” Johnson said.