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Howell’s Cleary University brought back athletics in 2012 after a hiatus of nearly a century, and on Aug. 1, it joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

Now, it’s taking the next step — and it’s a significant one.

On Thursday, the university announced plans to build an athletic complex as part of a $12 million project that also includes a housing complex. The athletic facility will be used by the school’s six varsity sports: baseball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and softball.

The facility will have lighting and seating for hundreds, and will feature artificial turf for year-round use.

“Cleary is committed to finding new ways to create an exceptional student experience, inside and outside of the classroom,” Clearly president Jayson Boyers said in a statement.

“By offering more residential options for students who want the on-campus living experience and building a new athletic facility for varsity sports and campus activities, our university is living one of the key business principles we teach — adaptability.”

Construction will begin shortly on the project, pending imminent Genoa Township approval, and is scheduled to be completed in fall of 2018. Funding for the project comes from a gift by University Housing Solutions, a private business.

Cleary has about 200 student-athletes, more than one-fifth the general student body. The residential complex will house 126 students, doubling the current on-campus availability.

Other NAIA schools in Michigan include: Aquinas, Concordia, Cornerstone, Lawrence Tech, Madonna, Marygrove, Michigan-Dearborn, Rochester and Siena Heights. Marygrove is eliminating athletics after the fall season, with the announcement the university is eliminating its undergraduate programs.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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