Walking around the college’s campus these days, students may feel inclined to trade their backpacks for hard hats.
It seems as though new construction projects are starting every day and every building is receiving some sort of makeover or restoration.
The Physical Education Center (PE) is no exception and is starting to get the touch up treatment.
The overview of the $24 million project includes a new varsity locker room wing for athletes and trainers, a new main entrance to the building and renovations to the fitness lab and classrooms.
Athletic Director Paul Zakowski says the main goal for the renovations to the building will be having a better traffic flow.
“We looked at the building on kind of a crazy weekend, we could have football games, volleyball tournaments and people working out at the fitness lab all at the same time,” Zakowski said.
“Our observations were that the layout of the building wasn’t very well put together.”
Zakowski explained that the building’s design caused a lot of “cross-pollination” with sports teams crossing paths with one another and community members.
This unnecessary crowding of patrons was a problem for anyone who went inside the PE building during those “crazy weekends.”
In order to prevent this, the new locker rooms are being built on the south side of the arena. The addition of the locker rooms will be the only new extension to the building.
With the new setup, teams can enter and exit without going through the main part of the building.
In addition to the locker rooms, another main part of the construction plan will be the renovations to the fitness lab.
The plans for the fitness lab are modeled after successful gym franchises like Bally Fitness and Lifetime Fitness, and it is the construction team’s goal to build a fitness lab that will rival these gyms.
The new fitness lab will not only have brand new equipment and over 10,000 square feet in floor space, but it will also move to the atrium in the second floor of the building.
“The atrium will be airy and have numerous sunny spots… I think our students will really like the new design,” Zakowski said.
The renovations are scheduled to be finished by spring semester of 2014, but until that time, students and faculty as well as coaches and players must adjust to some temporary changes.
Several PE classrooms have moved over to west campus, as has the weight room and fitness lab which are currently located in the OCC building.
The football team has changing rooms while the locker rooms are under construction, but there are no showers.
Also, with the arena closing Dec. 15, one of the biggest question marks the PE department faces is where the basketball teams and other sports teams that begin in the winter will play.
“We talked to the coaches in length and kind of warned them, this is going to be a tough year and a half while we’re gone,” Zakowski said.
Despite the momentary inconveniences, Zakowski believes the revamped building will be worth the wait.
“Our goal is that when a student comes to campus to take a tour, I’d want the PE building to be either the first stop or the last,” Zakowski said.