HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The athletics department at William Carey University is growing.
The university is spending more than $9.3 million on four construction projects. Three of the projects will enhance athletic programs.
A new track, gym and multipurpose center are being built to accommodate new athletic programs.
"Our student athletes have done well on the court and on the field, but this will help to improve and be able to recruit even stronger teams for our programs," said Steve Knight, athletics director and head men's basketball coach.
For the past four years, the track and field team has practiced at Presbyterian Christian School. Track and Field Head Coach Blake Hegstrom said the new track will help the team competitively.
"Each event is very unique and the skill set, "Hegstrom said. "You need to take the time with each athlete and that's been one difficulty."
With about 50 track and field athletes, Hegstrom said a central location is essential.
"I guess liability of having athletes drive back and forth across town for practice also creates some issues that will be remedied here being on campus," Hegstrom said.
Neighboring the track is a multipurpose building which will house the university's new volleyball program.
"We've been wanting to start a volleyball program for years, but unfortunately the gymnasium here, the roof is a foot too low," Knight said.
Head Volleyball Coach Kelsea Weldon said, "We're able to get about 13 on our roster for the first season. I'm really excited. It's a blessing with us being a first-year program and already having the university behind us and supporting us."
The new gymnasium will contain a much larger training room and a stand-alone weight room for athletes.
In addition to the new athletic facilities, the university is adding new biology labs.