It looks like the Old Gym’s days are numbered.
As part of University’s multi-year $21 million capital improvement plan including the swanky new Campus Center, University officials have submitted a proposal to the city of La Verne, which includes plans to demolish the facility.
The plans are scheduled for review by the city in October.
Groundbreaking for the Campus Center construction is projected for fall 2007.
Because the city requires the University to submit comprehensive construction plans for approval, plans for the Old Gym were submitted sooner than originally expected.
According to the plans submitted to the city, the new Campus Center will require the demolition of the Old Gym and its annex.
The Campus Center is scheduled to be built near the Old Gym, which will eventually serve as a parking lot for students.
“The Campus Center will be a dramatic and beautiful addition to the campus,” ULV Executive Vice President Phil Hawkey said.
The Campus Center will have multipurpose rooms and meeting rooms. However the faculty in the movement and sports science department said they are concerned that some of their classes now held in the Old Gym will be displaced.
“If they end up tearing up the gym, then we need a structure that has the same floor,” said Rex Huigens, chairman of the movement and sports science department. “I just hate to see us get rid of a facility that is used so much.”
Currently, the Old Gym accommodates yoga, dance and step aerobics classes. It also provides a practice area for football, soccer, softball and baseball teams when it rains.
The Old Gym is an important part of student life as well.
“It's very frustrating because we utilize this space. That's one of our meeting places,” Dana McJunkin, Associated Students of ULV president, said.
The area is also used for Campus Life activities, such as broom hockey and dances.
The ability to have an area where any student can walk in and play sports is important to the movement and sports science department as well.
“I think we can't downplay the need for free play,” Huigens said. “That availability is so important.”
During the next year the University will try to accommodate the needs of departments using the facility by reviewing and relocating the activities they offer.
“The big issue is to determine the logistics of all those uses of the Old Gym and where those uses could be relocated,” Hawkey said.
The decision to destroy the Old Gym caught some of the departments off guard.
“I think the issue is how do we meet our program needs and that's the question we should be answering,” Hawkey said.
The proposal to destroy the gym caught members of the ULV community by surprise because it occurred sooner than most people thought, Hawkey said.
“When people are surprised they react with caution,” Hawkey said.
If the University decides to leave the Old Gym standing, it would need to install a temperature control system and energy efficient windows, and refinish the gym floor.
“It's just a great old facility that is so used, it's just a shame to lose it,” Huigens said. “If we lose this battle we need to start a new one immediately.”
On May 7, ASULV will host a panel discussion on University issues with Stephen Morgan and Hawkey, among others.
Hawkey underscored that the Old Gym’s fate is still pending.
“The decision has not been made but we had to submit a plan to the city,” Hawkey said. “Things can change; this is a proposal.”
Yelena Ovcharenko can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.