5050 Ave Maria Blvd, Ave Maria, FL
AVE MARIA — Hammers will soon pound again at Ave Maria University.
The university announced today that Buffalo Sabres owner Tom Golisano has donated $4 million for an athletic complex at Ave Maria.
Chancellor Tom Monaghan on Wednesday had announced that an unnamed donor will reveal details about the project at a press conference at the school’s student union at 11 a.m. today.
Golisano, who bought the National Hockey League franchise earlier this decade, earlier this year moved from his native Rochester, N.Y., to Naples.
Before today, Ave Maria residents had heard rumblings of the big announcement, though they didn’t know all the details, either.
“I’ve heard a rumor that there was a major donation for a gym project,” said Daniel Dix, who owns The Bean coffee shop and Queen Mary Pub with his wife. Dix got a master’s degree in pastoral theology at the university and lives in the town. “I haven’t heard who (the donor) is. If (a gym) is, in fact, what they announce, it will be most welcome. I heard that at one of the recent games — they have the games now it the Ave Maria Grammar and Prep — that it was packed and they needed more seating.”
When you spend your days at a coffee shop, you hear a lot about what’s going on around town, Dix said. For the past couple of days he’s heard a lot of buzz about the donation.
“People are always excited when people support Ave Maria,” he said.
Phong Ho, co-owner of Tropical Smoothie and another resident, agreed with Dix.
“Any new construction is beneficial to the town,” Ho said. “It’s brand new, so anything like this is a positive thing, especially anything that can increase the student body or be more attractive to the residents moving in here.”
Continue to look for updates to this story throughout the day at naplesnews.com.