UAA building becomes Wells Fargo Sports Center

Posted: Friday, March 21, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) The University of Alaska Anchorage welcomed Wells Fargo Bank Alaska as the newest Seawolf'' Thursday after the two signed a sponsorship deal worth $425,000.

The deal will rename the UAA athletics building the Wells Fargo Sports Center.

Wells Fargo Bank Alaska President Richard Strutz came armed with an oversized novelty check, and the Seawolves mascot presented him with a personalized basketball.

The sponsorship covers five years and includes naming rights with interior and exterior signage. The money is earmarked for student athlete scholarships and better food and lodging when teams travel, according to the university's board of regents.

Sponsorship funds also will help cover startup costs for a women's track and field program in 2004 to fulfill NCAA requirements.

This money is 100 percent for student welfare,'' Athletics Director Steve Cobb said.

UAA Chancellor Lee Gorsuch said the scholarships created by Wells Fargo will make UAA more competitive with other universities who offer athletic scholarships.

Wells Fargo will also have first shot at naming rights to a future sports complex UAA is planning to build.

The board of regents ordered the search for a sponsor in a June 2002 meeting. The university was ordered to give priority to companies that are based in Alaska or have a significant presence in Alaska. UAA tried to negotiate a deal with First National Bank Alaska last October, but the two could not come to an agreement.

The Wells Fargo Sports Center hosts Seawolves basketball, volleyball and gymnastics events as well as tournaments such as the Great Alaska Shootout. The building also handles 40 community events each year and serves nine varsity programs.

The facility also houses an ice rink, swimming pool, fitness center, running track and administrative offices.

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