Indiana University head football coach Tom Allen has made a gift commitment to fund a state-of-the-art weight room at Franklin College in honor of his father, the college announced Monday.
Allen’s father, Tom Allen Sr., was a member of the Franklin College football team and in 1958 persuaded coach Stewart “Red” Faught to implement a lifting regimen into the team’s training. The weight training equipment in 1958 included a bale of hay and concrete blocks, the release said. Tom Allen Sr. was a 1961 graduate of the college.
“This gift to Franklin College presented our family an opportunity to give back to an Indiana community, while at the same time honoring dad in a way that reflects his passion for instilling in us the value of hard work,” Allen and his wife, Tracy Allen, said in the release.
Announced in December 2020, Johnson Memorial Health will be funding $1 million to go toward the Johnson Memorial Health Athletics Annex which will be an extension of the current weight room in Spurlock Center and the new one.
The facility will assist the college in recruitment and student-athlete development, athletic director Andrew Hendricks said in the release. It will also increase the availability of the current weight room.
According to the release, the Spurlock Center weight room was booked for team training nearly every day of the week, all day long in 2020. The new facility is coming as Franklin College’s large student athlete population is growing further, with Hendricks noting in the release that the percentage of student athletes has reached 44%.
The doubling of the weightlifting space means there will be more room for faculty and non-athlete students to utilize the facility, Prather said.
The $1 million contribution from Johnson Memorial Health last year created the concept for the athletics annex, which Prather said was envisioned to have a full weight room. The contribution from Allen will make that possible, he said.
“It's going to be a statement of progress and looking forward and continuing to address what our students tell us they want and need,” Prather said. “And, you know, we're guided by, we need more gym space, we need more room to work out.’ So that's what we're trying to focus our attention on.”
The athletics annex will be placed on the southwest corner of Park Avenue and Second Street on campus. Along with the weight room dedicated to Tom Allen Sr., the annex will include retractable batting cages for the baseball and softball teams and a similar area for men’s and women’s golf. When the hitting cages are retracted, there will be room for more indoor practice space, the release said.
Ground will break on the site this fall, with hopes that it will be done in fall 2022, Prather said. The project has been slightly delayed due to supply chain issues with steel, he said.