Pictured (L-R) Bexar County Commissioner Paul Elizondo, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, UIW President Dr. Louis Agnese, Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson and UIW faculty member Tim Henrich break ground for the new Fencing and International Sports Center.

The University of the Incarnate Word and Bexar County officially broke ground on May 23 to signal the beginning of construction for a new multi-million dollar Fencing and International Sports Center.

The facility, made possible by a $2 million contribution from the Bexar County Venue Tax, will be the premier fencing facility in the region and will be built on the St. Anthony Catholic High School campus, which is owned and operated by UIW.  Incarnate Word will fund an additional $1 million toward the facility, bringing its total estimated cost to $3 million.

“We’re pleased to provide new opportunities for students interested in pursuing fencing at both the collegiate and high school levels with what will be the finest fencing center in Texas,” said UIW President Dr. Louis Agnese.

“Bexar County voters overwhelmingly approved the venue tax referendum in 2008 because they realize the physical and mental importance of having athletic opportunities for our youngest citizens,” Bexar County Commissioner Paul Elizondo said. “Fencing is a prime example of a sport that develops the athlete mentally and physically, so we are very happy to collaborate with the university on this project.”

The 17,000 square-foot fencing and international sports facility will include 12 fencing strips; several practice strips; training rooms; spectator and exercise areas; and an armory.  The center will serve as a multipurpose facility allowing UIW to develop an NCAA fencing program; provide the facilities for a U.S. Fencing Association club for the community; serve as a training facility for fencing athletes including hosting of regional and national competitions; and support community initiatives such as the Dreams for Youth fencing.