March 2, 2013 – Outside, a bitterly cold day brought a handful of snowflakes from the gray sky. But inside, a sparkling new building awaited dozens of Hillsdale College students to populate it for the very first time.
With a squeeze on a pair of scissors by Hillsdale College President Dr. Larry Arnn, the Margot V. Biermann Athletic Center was officially opened close to noon on Saturday, March 2. Arnn handled the ceremonial blue ribbon cutting on the first new athletics building to be dedicated on campus since the Fall of 1988.
The Biermann Center is the new primary home of the Charger varsity track and tennis programs. The track team started practicing inside the building last week, and if the weather outside is poor, the Charger tennis team would play a varsity match inside the new building next month.
Construction began on the 76.000 square-foot facility last summer and features the same track surface as what was used in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. There are also four tennis courts contained inside the track oval, and the building will house events such as guest speakers and commencement in the future.
"This building will provide space for two types of activities: first, large campus and community gatherings that attract very large crowds, like Commencement, Convocation, concerts, and when the College hosts noteworthy speakers, and the second type of activity will be its most typical use, physical activities," said Hillsdale College athletic director Don Brubacher said at the groundbreaking last spring. "It will also, though, provide quality space to every member of the Hillsdale College community. It will see an immense variety of activities, particularly during the long, cold, Michigan winters."
The Biermann Center also contains offices for the track and tennis coaches, lots of storage space, an athletic training room, and a track that is worthy to host NCAA national championship-level events.
Dr. Arnn made it a point to thank Frank Biermann, a major donor for the building, as he cut the blue ribbon Saturday. The facility is named after Mr. Biermann's late wife Margot, who is a 1993 graduate of Hillsdale College. The college's food service provider, Saga Inc., was set up to serve lunch for the many gathered students and staff who arrived for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Student Activities Office then put on a number of games for the students, ranging from dodgeball to volleyball on the interior of the track.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the facility was held back on May 11, and a formal dedication will take place this coming May, coinciding with commencement.