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Mulva family continues mark on St. Norbert with new sports center

The Mulva Family Fitness and Sports Center was dedicated on May 12, 2017. (Photo Credit: WLUK)

DE PERE (WLUK) -- Students at St. Norbert College now have a new, bigger place to exercise and compete.

The Mulva Family Fitness and Sports Center was dedicated Friday afternoon.

James and Miriam Mulva donated $13 million to the $25.5 million project.

Even though they split time between Texas and Wisconsin, De Pere has always been home for the Mulvas. Their fondness for the area can be seen throughout Miriam's alma mater of St. Norbert College.

“Because she went to school here and my mother worked here, just naturally we wanted to help and support St. Norbert,” said James Mulva, who is retired after serving as president and CEO of ConocoPhillips.

Between St. Norbert's new library, science center, and now the Mulva Family Fitness and Sports Center, the Mulvas have donated $38 million to the school.

“They've been front and center for three of the most transformational facilities on this campus,” said Tom Kunkel, president of St. Norbert College. “Most college presidents I know would kill to have patrons and support like that.”

The centerpieces of the Mulva Sports Center additions and renovations are an expansive fitness center and new pool, the first in the school’s history. Both overlook the Fox River.

“We've actually been talking for maybe 20 years on the fact they need a swimming pool,” said Miriam Mulva. “For a while they had a swim team working out in the Allouez pool, so I said it's pretty hard to have a swim team with no pool. We're really just delighted they have the pool.”

The sports center has grown from 80,000 square feet to almost 130,000 square feet.

The expansion includes additional medical facilities, offices, and gymnasium upgrades.

The Mulvas are in the process of extending their generosity across the river from St. Norbert. The couple is working with the city of De Pere on building a cultural center at the corner of Broadway and Lewis Street. It would include local history, traveling exhibits, and performance space.

“We thought we'd be underway by now, but just a number of revisions have come up we've had to sort out,” said James Mulva. “Hopefully we'll get these sorted out and the next couple of months and then we can give more information where the project is going.”

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