UTSA Athletics celebrates grand opening of RACE building

Various guests, donors and university officials including President Eighmy and Mayor Ron Nirenberg cut the ribbon to open the Roadrunner Athletics Center of Excellence. Julia Maenius\The Paisano

Ryder Martin, Sports Editor

On Wednesday, Aug. 4, UTSA officially opened their new student athletics facility known as the Roadrunner Athletics Center of Excellence or RACE for short. The facility, costing a total of $40.4 million, was not paid for by the university. Funding instead came from a combination of support from the city of San Antonio, donations and financing from the Roadrunner Foundation. The university is also not the owner of the building as it is owned by the Roadrunner Foundation, with UTSA renting the building from them. The university hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the building with notable attendees and speakers including San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, UTSA President Taylor Eighmy, Athletics Director and Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Lisa Campos, President of the Roadrunner Foundation Gene Dawson, UTSA head football coach Jeff Traylor and UTSA softball infielder Riley Grunberg, who spoke on behalf of the student-athletes. 

Those in attendance hailed the building as a massive step forward for UTSA as a Division I athletics program. In his opening remarks President Eighmy praised the facility as “A very special moment for the institution.” He went on to proudly state his belief that “UTSA is on the steepest of trajectories.” 

Continuing the theme of effusive praise on the facility’s big day, Mayor Nirenberg offered up his thoughts on the building, punctuating his speech with the statement that, “Champions are built and made in this building.”

Dawson took the time to explain how the project initially started as a $2 million upgrade to UTSA’s existing facilities, which upon careful evaluation grew into the $40.4 million RACE facility. In his remarks, Dawson teased that the foundation has numerous other projects in the works, including planned upgrades to the soccer and track complex in Park West, a new training facility for basketball and volleyball, plans to cover the football practice fields with a pavilion and a new baseball and softball facility.

Dr. Campos proudly proclaimed in her remarks that “The building is best in class in C-USA,” a sentiment shared by numerous other speakers during the event. Dr. Campos continued the theme of the RACE facility only being the beginning of UTSA’s ambitions stating, “This facility is only one piece of a grand vision.” 

The facility is immense, covering an area of 10.8 acres on the UTSA campus featuring a 14,000 square-foot strength and conditioning center, a 7,500 square-foot locker room for the football program, two football practice fields, 7,000 square feet of academic spaces, a sports medicine center and office spaces for UTSA’s entire athletics department. Other notable highlights of the facility include a nutrition center, various meeting and team rooms and a barbershop located in the football team’s locker room. 

The new RACE facility is likely to serve as a valuable tool for UTSA Athletics going forward. An athletics department that previously had to operate out of portable shipping container offices and a strip mall prior to that, now steps into a state-of-the-art athletics facility that is worthy of its price tag. The facility also figures to be a massive boon in recruiting for UTSA’s various athletic programs, which now have a facility to match the programs’ ambitions when trying to lure high school recruits and transfers. 

Where UTSA goes from here is anyone’s guess, but the RACE building’s grand opening and quality serve as a strong indication that UTSA is committed to improving their college athletics program and pushing themselves into the future with full force.