DES MOINES, Iowa -- Drake University received a $5 million gift from former alumnus Paul and Claudia Schickler to jump start two university initiatives.
One million dollars was dedicated to the advancement of the men’s basketball team.
“Such as how the teams travel, what the nutrition is that they have on a daily basis, the teams that we're playing, making sure that we're able to keep our coaches. Those are some key areas that will want to make sure that we can invest in,” said Director of Athletics Brian Hardin.
Two million dollars will be used to elevate the fan experience at the Knapp Center. Renovations will include replacing the seats in the arena and improving hospitality space. Currently the arena seats about 7,000 fans, but Hardin sees that changing in an effort to create a more intimate experience.
“I think probably what you've seen is a reduction in the capacity of the epicenter. But we'll have maybe nicer seats closer to the action,” said Hardin.
No concrete plans for the renovations have been released, but Hardin is hoping to start renovations this summer with the hopes of reopening in time for next season.
The last $2 million was dedicated to the social, economic, development and conservation challenges facing rural America. This portion of the gift will be handled by Drake’s Law School's Agricultural Law Center.
“We’ve got a whole set of activities, assets, interests and people here at Drake to help. I think [it] really provide[s] leadership as we address rural America and try and enhance it for the future,” said Paul Schickler.
Drake University President Marty Martin is confident this donation will evolve Drake’s involvement in the community to a new standard.
“That’s the kind of gift that helps transform an institution, that really helps push an institution to an entirely different level and indeed that’s what this gift will do,” said Martin.