BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Samford University will soon have new recreation and wellness facilities for students and athletes, as school leaders broke ground on the new project Tuesday.

The new facility will give students more opportunities to engage in fitness and mental wellness activities. It also will provide new spaces for campus events. School leaders said it’s a big investment for the future of the university.

The complex will have four separate buildings covering a total of 165,000 square feet. It includes a newly renovated health and wellness facility, a men’s and women’s basketball facility, a covered practice space for the football team and a large recreational space.

Samford University President Beck Taylor said this was a priority for students and he’s happy to fill that need.

“As I talked with our students and did my own assessment as far as where we were in terms of our facilities, this project really rose to the top. It was a priority for our students,” Taylor said. “So in classic Samford-style, we put our students’ needs first and this is our first big project out of the gate.”

The $65 million dollar project is the largest improvement in the university’s history. Taylor said he hopes to have the new complex open in the fall of 2024.