Drury University, a private university in Springfield, Missouri, is to open a thrilling new attraction to its campus this fall. It has started construction on an outdoor recreational complex it calls “The Panther Pad!”
A Sport For Everyone
The Panther Pad facility will include new pickleball courts, restored basketball and tennis courts, and a new pavilion with a grill and beverage area, catering to both students and spectators. This initiative was realized thanks to the contributions from multiple O’Reilly family members, including:
- Austin O’Reilly
- Matt and Ashley O’Reilly ‘03/-
- W. Justin French and Lindsay O’Reilly French ‘94/’02
- David and Stacey O’Reilly ‘71/-
- Pamela O’Reilly
Austin O’Reilly told drury.edu, “Pickleball is a sport for everyone. Playing it once will offer a glimpse into a new array of lifestyle benefits that you might otherwise have thought were lost or unapproachable.
“The words that come to mind when I think of the sport: fun, exercise, sweaty, friends, community, addicting, therapeutic, challenging, playful, yet competitive.
“If you ask someone else, their words might be different, but the sport is actively changing the lives of millions of people around the world for the better, as we speak. No matter how unfit, old, unhappy or unhealthy you think you are, pickleball won’t disappoint!
“We couldn’t be more excited to support Drury University with the building of a new state-of-the-art outdoor recreation complex, the Panther Pad.”
The new complex is so-named because The Drury Panthers are the athletic teams that represent Drury University.
The construction of the Panther Pad will be undertaken by renowned court builders McConnell & Associates under the guidance of Director of Business Development Andy Gensch. This innovative endeavor will not only introduce one of the inaugural official pickleball courts on a university campus, but it will also establish itself as the foremost pickleball destination in the country for intercollegiate competitions.
Drury University will have an exciting addition to campus this fall, an outdoor recreation complex called the Panther Pad. The Panther Pad will feature new pickleball courts, the revitalization of the basketball and tennis courts and a new pavilion grill and beverage area. pic.twitter.com/8cfij0CFb8— Drury University (@DruryUniversity) August 30, 2023
Marie Muhvic, the executive vice president for University Advancement, expressed her satisfaction in collaborating closely with Austin, a professional pickleball player and skilled court designer:
“It has been a pleasure to work integrally with Austin and utilize his experience as both a professional pickleball player and experienced court designer.
“We are grateful that the family has generously stepped up to support a main Fortify the Future Campaign priority, Heritage facilities. This will breathe new life into a student-centered focal area for activity, eating, gathering, and socialization. We are so thankful to the entire family.”
“Engagement, Fun And Shared Memories”
Situated north of Olin Library and adjoining the recently turfed Sunderland Field, the project will find its place at the heart of the historic Drury campus.
Drury President John Beuerlein stated, “Sports have the power to bring people together, and the Panther Pad will undoubtedly become a hub of engagement, fun and shared memories for our students.
“We are truly grateful for the O’Reilly family’s generous support in making this project a reality, and we look forward to witnessing the positive impact it will have on our students’ lives.”
Commencement of construction for the Panther Pad is scheduled for early September, while preparations are already in progress for a dedication ceremony and inaugural match in the coming spring.
Drury University, formerly Drury College and originally Springfield College, is located at 900 North Benton Avenue, Springfield, MO 65802, United States.
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