Conveniently located adjacent to Bridgeforth Stadium/Zane Showker Field, the Robert & Frances Plecker Athletic Performance Center provides JMU athletics with one of the nation’s top student-athlete support facilities.
Opening during the spring 2005 semester, the two-story Plecker Athletic Performance Center brings nearly every facet of the JMU football program into one structure. And while much of the Center’s space is football-related, its support facilities provide tremendous benefits throughout the JMU athletics program.
The Center houses locker, equipment, office, meeting and reception areas for the football program. It also includes academic support areas used by each of the University’s 18 intercollegiate sports programs, state-of-the-art sports medicine and strength training and conditioning facilities, reception areas that include JMU’s Athletic Hall of Fame, and a student-athlete lounge. A large Duke Dog is positioned in the plaza at the Center.
The spacious and attractive football locker room, which opens to the stadium field, has individual wood lockers, carpeting, and extensive modern audio and video equipment.
The football staff area includes offices for each of the team’s coaches, staff meeting and video areas, and large and small group meeting facilities.
The academic support area has a state-of-the-art computer lab, individual office areas for each academic support staff member, large and small areas for meetings and study groups, and areas for personalized tutorial sessions. The academic facility is named for Challace McMillin, JMU’s first football coach (1972-84) and a long-time University faculty member.
The 7,000-square-foot strength and conditioning area features an extensive array of equipment in addition to two 45-inch flat-screen televisions connected to digital cameras, allowing the strength and conditioning staff to train with athletes and to provide immediate visual feedback regarding their efforts.
The Center’s 5,000-square-foot sports medicine facility provides an outstanding addition to the sports medicine and health care services provided to all JMU student-athletes. Included at the Center are functional rehabilitation and hydrotherapy areas and physicians’ and administrative office areas. The facility, which is among several sports medicine areas at JMU’s various athletics venues, also provides for enhanced educational opportunities for students in JMU’s athletic training curriculum.
JMU announced plans for the Plecker Athletic Performance Center during the fall of 2001, and construction on the $10-million project began during August 2002. Also included was the addition of an on-campus facility for JMU’s track and field, field hockey, and lacrosse programs that previously used the Bridgeforth Stadium/Zane Showker Field complex.
The Center is named for Harrisonburg’s Robert and Frances Plecker, who provided a major gift for its construction. The stadium playing field is named for Harrisonburg businessman Zane Showker, who was another major contributor to the project, as was the Winchester-area Bridgeforth family for whom the stadium is named.
Other contributors to the project also are recognized. The Center’s primary entrance area includes the names of major donors, columns at the front of the structure include donor names, and meeting rooms, offices and benches in the plaza area outside the Center’s main entrance include the names of contributors. Names of other contributors are included on stones that are part of the Center’s front plaza. The plaza is named in honor of the family of Dean Ehlers, JMU’s athletics director from 1971-93.
What They Say About the Athletic Performance Center
“We are extremely pleased with the construction of the Robert and Frances Plecker Athletic Performance Center, which benefits all of our student-athletes with state-of-the-art academic facilities and serves as an entrance and focal point for our football stadium."
Jeff Bourne, JMU Director of Athletics
“The new strength and conditioning facility in the Plecker Athletic Performance Center gives us the opportunity to expose our athletes to state-of-the-art equipment with numerous options to enhance their training throughout the year.”
Jim Durning, JMU Football Strength & Conditioning Coach
“The Robert and Frances Plecker Athletic Performance Center includes a state-of-the-art academic area designated to provide all of our student-athletes with the resources and support necessary for academic success. We are deeply grateful to all who contributed to this project”
Casey Carter, JMU Associate AD, Student-Athlete Services
“The sports medicine area in the Plecker Athletic Performance Center provides for an exciting and uplifting environment that our student-athletes can use to facilitate prevention and treatment for injuries and illnesses through the use of contemporary equipment and cutting-edge technology.”
Tom Kuster, JMU Assistant AD, Sports Medicine
“The fact that we can combine our locker room, our strength and conditioning area, our academic support areas, our sports medicine area, and our office areas under one roof allows us to accomplish so much more than what we’ve been able to do in the past.”
Mickey Matthews, JMU Football Coach
Football Locker Room