At 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 2, Austin Peay State University and Montgomery County Government hosted a special signing ceremony that established a 30-year lease for the University to use the county’s new multipurpose event center (MPEC).
The lease will provide space for the Austin Peay men’s and women’s basketball programs, including coach and assistant coach offices, locker rooms, practice facilities and game day facilities.
Interim APSU President Dannelle Whiteside, Director of Athletics Gerald Harrison and Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett were present to sign the agreement at Austin Peay’s Dunn Center.
“Today is a transformative day for Austin Peay Athletics, the University and the people of Clarksville-Montgomery County,” Harrison said. “Athletically, our Governor basketball programs will reside in the finest facilities in the Ohio Valley Conference. The MPEC will give our fans a first-class experience every time they walk through the door to support our student athletes. A tremendous amount of thanks to Mayor Durrett, President Whiteside and former President [Dr. Alisa] White for working tirelessly to bring this dream to reality. We can’t wait to ‘Fly the Gov’ on the corner of Second and College Street.”
The Winfield Dunn Center has been home to Governors athletics since its opening in 1975. Considered one of the top mid-major facilities in the south, it has evolved into one of the more intimidating basketball courts in the OVC. Since its opening, the Govs are a combined 411-181 in the Dunn Center, including a 14-0 home record a season ago.
According to Rufus Johnson Associates, the architectural company behind the project, the center is “conceived as a highly flexible public assembly venue with the capability of hosting everything from sports events to formal banquets…in the heart of downtown Clarksville-Montgomery County, Tennessee. The MPEC will be an economic engine for the entire community. The approximately 248,149 square foot facility is envisioned to provide maximum flexibility for a variety of events, with an emphasis on Austin Peay Governors Basketball along with their practice and support services as the primary event driver.”
Estimated capacity is varied dependent on the event, allowing up to 6,400 in attendance for concerts. As for APSU basketball, the company predicts between 4,900-5,500 capacity for game days.
“There will be suites, there will be some specialty seating, there will be rooms for rent for basketball games or events going on in the facility,” Durrett said. “It will be a true multi-purpose facility. It’s a very unique facility, one that we’ve spent a lot of time and research on. It will be a huge economic boost for our county, and having Austin Peay there just seals the whole deal.”
Construction is underway on the new, 250,000-square-foot event center at the intersection of College and North Second streets. It is scheduled to open fall 2022.