ATHENS, OH (WCMH) -- For Ohio University student-athletes, this is a game changer.
"Ohio University is serious about its academics,” said Ohio University Athletic Director Jim Schaus. “Look what we've done. We built a brand new facility. This is for all of our student-athletes, all 16 of our sports, so it's tremendous."
The university Friday dedicated the new Perry and Sandy Sook Academic Center. It’s a $7 million facility designed to help the approximately 450 student-athletes succeed on and off the field.
The facility is named for Nexstar Media Group CEO Perry Sook and his wife Sandy, a double alumna from the university.
"There's no question that this whole thing doesn't happen without Perry and Sandy Sook. You see their name on the front of the building. They were the leadership that helped the other 400 donors get excited about this facility. So we're so thankful to them, all the things they've done for our university and obviously this facility,” said Schaus.
For years, Bobcat athletes used a small area on the fourth floor of the football stadium as a study room. Now, they have a spacious facility that fits all their needs.
The center has only been open for a few weeks, but it’s already getting rave reviews from the students.
"When you come here to the Sook center, you're almost guaranteed to get stuff done no matter what. Not a lot of distractions. So coming to the Sook center is an awesome place, state of the art facility," said junior Nick Byrnes.
"It's really easy to focus here. There's a lot of windows and the private study rooms are really nice so I've really enjoyed it," said freshman Stephanie Pierce.
"At the end of the day, that's why we’re here. We are here for the students. We are here so they graduate at a high rate and to meet their career and academic goals. They are students first and that's why the Sook academic center is here," said Schaus.
"As alumni, we want to give back in a way that will have a dynamic impact on a diverse group of students," said Perry and Sandy Sook in a joint statement earlier this month. "Our passion for academics and our appreciation for what intercollegiate athletics does for students and for the University is why we chose to support this project. We encourage friends and alumni of Ohio University to continue to invest in our student athletes."