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Marquette as a destination for elite-level and intercollegiate athletes to up their game — that’s the vision churning chatter.

Since the university announced its intention to build the Athletic Performance Research Center in a strategic partnership with the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, eyes nationally have turned to see what Marquette has in mind.

The Board of Trustees approved a plan to transform a parcel of land at the eastern corner of campus bounded by Michigan Avenue on the north and Clybourn Avenue on the south and build a nationally recognized athletic center with research initiatives addressing sports performance, medicine, nutrition and psychology.

Research will be faculty-directed and provide important opportunities for graduate and undergraduate research students, according to Dr. Sandra Hunter, professor of exercise science and member of the APRC planning committee. “The open-design research space will optimize exciting collaborations between various human performance disciplines, such as biomechanics, bioanalytics, exercise physiology, nutrition and biochemistry, motor control, sport psychology, and muscle fatigue to address barriers to optimal human performance,” Hunter says.

“This unique center will put Marquette on the map in terms of elite research and facilitate the training and performance of student-athletes, taking them to the next level,” says Dr. Paula Papanek, associate professor of physical therapy and member of the planning committee.

The APRC will be open to all members of the campus community, reducing pressure on existing facilities, such as Valley Fields, which is used for rec and club sports as well as intercollegiate athletics. It will provide a new home to Marquette’s Division I men’s and women’s lacrosse, soccer, cross-country/track and field, and tennis teams, as well as men’s golf. Additionally, there will be incubator space for ideation of products and materials that contribute to athletic performance.

The strategic partnership came about after Bucks owner Wes Edens mentioned he was looking for a competitive edge in player performance. The idea synced with President Lovell’s desire to build a competitive edge in athletics research at Marquette.

“This facility is truly unique in terms of the collaboration with the Milwaukee Bucks and the opportunities to bring in other partners to develop cutting-edge research related to athletic performance,” says Lora Strigens, associate vice president for finance and university architect.

One such partnership is the addition of Milwaukee Bucks director of player performance Troy Flanagan as an adjunct faculty member in the College of Health Sciences. Before joining the Bucks organization in April, Flanagan was director of high performance for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. — JMM

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