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The Journal Gazette

  • Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette After a long wait, Trine University was able to unveil its 3,500-seat MTI Center on Wednesday night as the women's basketball team played host to Hope.

Thursday, January 04, 2018 1:00 am

Curtain raised on Trine facility

Women's basketball team first to play in $13.7 million arena

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

ANGOLA – The anticipation is over. Finally.

The MTI Center, Trine's newest athletic facility, was officially opened to the public Wednesday: a women's basketball contest against Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association rival Hope.

The Thunder women's basketball team (11-2, 3-1 MIAA) fell 57-46 to Hope in the opening contest at the center.

“It seemed like it was going to be a long process but at the same time, it's gone really quickly,” women's basketball coach Ryan Gould said. “A year or so to get over here. We were obviously really excited to get back from our (Las Vegas) trip on Dec. 30 and the team was able to get in and get some shots in and we've been able to practice here the last three days. It's been fun to get in, finally, and see everything and walk through.”

The 74,480-square-foot facility is part of a $13.7 million dollar project for the basketball programs and new recreational activities, according to the official release from the school.

“When you look at it, for crying out loud, people are going to read this and think, 'Wow, that sounds awesome,'” athletic director Matt Land said, “but you have to come and see it to really experience how great this place is.

“When you talk about feature facilities, our football stadium is outstanding, our hockey arena is outstanding, our athletic facilities are unbelievable. Then you add a 3,500-seat dedicated basketball arena and it just adds to every aspect of the university.”

In addition to the 3,500-seat basketball arena, the MTI Center includes a six-lane bowling alley, an esports arena, fitness center with free weights and machines, a golf pro shop and banquet center, two putting greens, an outdoor patio, athletic training facilities and meeting room for basketball teams.

“The vision of the university is really remarkable with adding this facility alone, you add a bowling program, an esports program,” men's basketball coach Brooks Miller said. “It's creating a vibe and a culture that's really unique because you're talking about 50 or 70 kids a year just being in this building that are going to be here and be a part of those two programs. With men's and women's basketball, it's only going to improve our recruiting and the people who want to be here.”

The office space will be occupied by the head golf professional, the assistant vice president of athletics, the assistant athletic director, the head and assistant coaches of men's and women's basketball teams, the bowling coach and the esports coach.

“It's first-class,” Miller said. “All the little details about it. Everything here was so well thought out and organized. It just shows that you're something special and something that's bigger than us as a basketball program, way bigger than me as a coach or our individual players. We're a part of something really great at Trine, and it's a great feeling.

“We were (a part of the planning process). Fortunately, they thought enough to ask us what we thought we needed. We have a team room, like a film room, which was one of our ideas. We talked about the court a little bit, we wanted that Power T (big, dark blue capital T). We wanted to make sure that everybody that walks in the door, the Power T is the first thing they see. It was really great to a part of those decisions.”

areichel@jg.net