Michael C. Pascucci Team Center at Bucknell University is complete

Apr. 20—LEWISBURG — Student athletes at Bucknell University on Friday marveled at the newly completed Michael C. Pascucci Team Center.

In front of a room full of more than 200 staff, students, donors, alumni and staff, football quarterback Ralph Rucker IV, men's lacrosse midfielder Richie Striano and women's track and field jumper/hurdler Karen Hull praised the facility tailored for Bucknell's Division 1 student-athletes for exclusive training and team space. They provided their remarks during a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for this final phase and keystone of the Pascucci Family Athletics Complex.

"On behalf of the entire Bucknell football team, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to Mr. Pascucci and yourself for providing one of the finest facilities in the entire Patriot League," said Rucker, of the Class of 2026. "We couldn't be more excited to get to work and utilize all aspects of the state-of-the-art equipment and amenities within the training center.

"This new facility will allow us to train and perform at the highest level."

The center, which stands between the turf practice field and the north end zone of Christy Mathewson — Memorial Stadium, was made possible through a $40 million pledge to Bucknell from Michael Pascucci, Class of 1958, the largest one-time commitment in the university's history. Of this pledge, $30 million will support unrestricted, need-based financial aid endowment through the Pascucci Family Scholarship, providing a transformative boost for the university's No. 1 fundraising priority. Over $10 million more enabled improvements in and around Christy Mathewson — Memorial Stadium.

"I can't wait to see the amazing things it will do for the program," said Striano. "It's also going to raise the unbelievably high bar of generosity around this campus even more, and will instill past, current and future Bucknellians to want to donate."

Striano said Bucknell is about "great education, great athletics and a great social life."

"Being here in front of everybody shows me what Bucknell is all about," he said. "It's such a close-knit group. When I move forward in life, I want to instill this culture everywhere I go."

'Amazing and special'

Hull, a record-setting athlete and graduating senior, said looking at the "beautiful track" makes her realize how much she values it.

"We are eager and excited to train and perform at the highest level," said Hull. "Like other teams, we do have our locker room in the Clark (Hall), and it's difficult sometimes to get up here. It's nice, once we're up here practice, to come in here and get Bison Fuel, or if we have lift after, it's nice to have it up here. This is amazing for us."

Hosting other teams in the Patriot League at the new facility will be "amazing and special," she said.

'Worst' to 'finest'

Jermaine Truax, the vice president of athletics and recreation, said the past facility was unimpressive.

"Six years ago when I got here, this was the absolute worst facility in the Patriot League," said Truax. "As I stand here before you now, this is absolutely one of the finest facilities."

The facility will "no doubt" elevate the athletic programs, he said.

"From a recruiting lens, from a competitive sense, we will be significantly better," said Truax.

In a prepared statement, Bucknell University President John Bravman said the investment in need-based financial aid ensures that the Pascucci legacy will extend far beyond the athletics complex that bears his name.

"By allowing us to consistently admit the best and brightest students each year, it will change the lives of generations of talented students with financial need," he said. "We are deeply grateful for the Pascucci family's dedication to the university and their transformational support of both academics and athletics."

Center details

Earlier phases of the project included the installation of a modern LED video board at the south end zone of Christy Mathewson — Memorial Stadium in 2021 and the completion of a turf practice field in summer 2022. Supplemental support for the athletics complex ensured the project was 100 percent donor funded, including an endowment to offset operations, according to Bucknell officials.

"When we designed this building, it was really student focused and how do we maximize the space between the gateway and the practice fields and here, to make it where our student athletes have that convenience," said Bucknell Deputy Director of Athletics Tim Pavlechko.

The Pascucci center is a 16,000-square-foot athletics hub. It features a state-of-the-art strength and conditioning facility with a 6,000-square-foot weight room that overlooks the turf practice field. The weight room has 12 custom-made racks for 24 stations with new weights, technology and turf flooring for mat drills.

Adjacent to the weight room is a sports medicine center that provides student-athletes with preventative and rehabilitation treatments, including taping, stretching, hydrotherapy and injury evaluations.

Lacrosse locker room

Specifically designed to bridge the practice and game-day fields, the team center's south facade offers sweeping views of Christy Mathewson — Memorial Stadium, according to school officials. Inside, a 1,300-square-foot team meeting room and conference room will allow teams to review film and gather for off-field training and learning events. A student-athlete landing spot provides a comfortable place for students awaiting the start of practice and other activities, and a Bison Fuel station ensures convenient access to nutritious snacks, supplements and hydration.

The Bucknell men's lacrosse team will have a dedicated 1,600-square-foot locker room space in the center, providing convenient access for both practice and games. In addition, the Bison football team and the men's and women's track and field teams will use the training, recovery and team spaces.

While the Pascucci center is exclusively available to varsity athletes, its opening will serve the entire athletics department as well as the greater Bucknell community by reducing varsity team use of strength training and locker room spaces in the Kenneth Langone Athletics and Recreation Center. In addition, the team meeting spaces in the Pascucci center will be used for leadership and enrichment programming conducted by the athletics department.

The football team has 95 players and there are 45 members of the men's lacrosse team this year, said Pavlechko.

Pavlechko said the stadium turf field will also be replaced the day after graduation on May 12.