After months of anticipation, the new Frantz Athletic Court opened this month. Men’s and women’s basketball played their first games at home in nearly a year.
Our nationally ranked women’s volleyball team, whose season ended last semester, however, will have to wait until fall to test their new court.
(Even without home court advantage, they still managed to win the SCIAC Conference championship.)
Several earlier completion deadlines came and went last fall with unfulfilled promises of home games in the the new center.
Many students, when asked what they think of the new sports center, rather than revel in its splendor, said they don’t understand why its completion took so long.
Others are upset by the fact that, while the outside of the Pavilion looks great, some internal improvements are sorely needed.
The weight room is not up to par with neighboring colleges. And the weights, some of which were placed outside the Hanawalt Center during construction, were damaged by dust from the construction and weather. (That idea must not have sounded quite as stupid at the time.) These machines need to be prepped and greased. Not to mention that these machines are already 15 years old.
The free weights have also seen better days. The University received these weights years ago from a prison in Chino. Though these weights have accommodated the athletes for years, it seems silly to put old furniture in a new home.
The pavilion really is a sight to see, but many questions still linger among the student body. With the promise of a new weight room, why not include new equipment?
With such a gracious $6 million gift from our community and alumni, why wasn’t a $50,000 for exercise equipment budgeted for? Fifty grand is barely a drop in the bucket when you’re talking about a seven-figure budget.
Some students also expressed their desire for increased weight room hours. But as Federal Work Study budgets were slashed last year, the center’s student work force was also slashed, to the tune of roughly 40 percent.
Though there are plenty of students who would be willing to work later hours like in years past, the opportunities are not there.
It seems unfortunate to only offer the weight room to those who end their busy school day before 5 p.m., especially when you consider Pomona College offers its weight room to students until later hours of the night.
But back to structural improvements, which University officials promise will be ongoing:
“What you see today is a completion of phase one of a multi-phase project,” said Athletic Director Christopher Ragsdale.
If phase one is this great, and it is, students can only ponder what the next phases are going to bring.
Yet while everyone is excited to have a beautiful campus with shiny new facilities, we can’t help but wonder how this first project could be completed four months behind schedule and still come out as a half-baked hack job with cut corners aplenty.
Our athletes, as well as everyone else who uses the facility, deserved a better finished product, even if it had been completed on schedule.
Let’s just hope that the University leadership and its contractors can get the bugs out of the remodeling process before ground is broken for the next phase.