Rendering of plans for academic center for studentathletes at Ohio University Ohio University

Rendering of plans for academic center for student-athletes at Ohio University.

Ohio University ready to begin construction of academic center for athletes

The Sook Academic Center will have will have study and meeting spaces for student-athletes.

Ohio University in Athens plans to start the construction this summer on an academic center exclusively for student-athletes.

The Post, the student-run newspaper at the university, reports that the Perry and Sandy Sook Academic Center will cost more than $6 million and is expected to open in 2018.

The facility will have study spaces for students, offices for staff, meeting spaces and restrooms. A $2.25 million donation from Perry and Sandy Sook helped spur the project.

"A specialized academic center is needed for student-athletes as they face the academic rigors set forth by the University and the NCAA," Ohio University says on a fundraising web site for the project. "Furthermore, a facility of this magnitude allows student-athletes to pursue their academic endeavors and balance their athletic activities."

Student-athletes at Ohio University now use the 10,000 square-foot Joan and Wallace Phillips Center in the third and fourth floors of Peden Tower for academics. The university describes the space as "inadequate, aging, and spread out."

"Personalized facilities are needed to provide specific educational resources to accommodate the needs of all student-athletes," the university says.

Some faculty members and students have expressed opposition to a facility exclusively for athletes and say athletes should use the same campus resources as other students.

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