Fencing joins lineup through new center

 Fencing will become the 20th sport at the University of the Incarnate Word in conjunction with the opening of the Fencing and International Sports Center on the campus of St. Anthony High School.

Ground was broken May 23 on the multimillion-dollar center at the school, 3200 McCullough Ave., made possible by a $2 million contribution from the Bexar County Venue Tax. UIW will fund an additional $1 million toward the facility expected for occupancy in 2013.

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 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.

Some Olympians past and present were at the groundbreaking. Besides the community and UIW, the center will serve students at St. Anthony’s and Incarnate Word high schools, part of the Brainpower Connection.

“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,” Dr. Louis J. Agnese Jr., UIW’s president, said at the groundbreaking.

“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.”

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