SOU hoops teams to stay at AHS through season

Southern Oregon University's winter sports teams will compete at Ashland High School's Mountain Avenue Gym for the remainder of the 2017-18 season, causing slight alterations to upcoming basketball and wrestling schedules.

SOU announced Thursday that construction at the all-new Lithia Motors Pavilion and adjacent Student Recreation Center is nearing completion, but is approximately a month behind schedule due to an excess of construction in the area that has left subcontractors in short supply. The new home of Raider athletics is now expected to open near the end of February.

"We'd again like to thank Ashland High School and the Ashland School District for being so accommodating during this transition," SOU athletics director Matt Sayre said, "as well as our fans, student-athletes and coaches for their patience."

Lithia Motors Pavilion and the Student Recreation Center will replace 60-year-old McNeal Pavilion, which was demolished after an engineering study found it was too obsolete for any of its parts to be salvaged.

Lithia Motors Pavilion will feature a competition gym with a capacity of more than 1,400 fans for basketball, wrestling and volleyball. The pavilion will also have locker rooms, classrooms, offices and a conference room for academics, offices and a conference room for SOU athletic staff, an athletic training and sports medicine room, a wrestling practice room, an equipment room, a ticket booth and storage areas.

The pavilion received $22 million in bond funding from the state and pledges for about $2 million more from several donors, including $1 million from the local DeBoer family and their company, Lithia Motors. The DeBoers and Lithia pledged another $1 million to fund athletic scholarships.

The Student Recreation Center will feature a two-court recreational gym, suspended indoor running track, fitness center, climbing wall, multipurpose rooms, an outdoor programs area, staff offices, locker rooms and storage areas. The $17.7 million recreation center was funded by fees that SOU students levied upon themselves.

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