University of La Verne administration, faculty, athletes and students alike stumbled over the new construction around the university in the first weeks of the fall semester. The construction consists of a new Campus Center which includes a student plaza, a chilled water central plant and a major renovation to the Sports Science and Athletics Pavilion formerly known as the Supertents. Despite the exciting additions to campus facilities, athletic programs currently in season are directly affected.
Planning for construction began some time ago with a target start date of March 2005. With delays in the starting process, ULV administration did not receive approval for breaking ground until July.
“Initially we had hoped to get started in March of last school
year with demolition,” athletic director Chris Ragsdale said. “Our goal in the beginning of the project was to not disrupt any athletic program…had we started in March we may have achieved that goal.”
The delay has stretched the process into this academic year and has unfortunately affected athletic teams, most notably the nationally ranked volleyball team, which competes in the fall.
Despite the delay, campus administration hopes for the court inside the Pavilion to be playable in the near future.
“We are very hopeful that Oct. 15 becomes a date where we can accommodate all of our athletic programs,” Ragsdale said.
Volleyball head coach Don Flora views the project as a small inconvenience, not a major problem and that this inconvenience could actually prove positive once everything is back to normal.
“What we do training wise, it does not matter what court we are on,” Flora said. “What does not kill us makes us stronger, this does not kill us.”
The volleyball program has currently relocated to the Rains Center at Pomona College in Claremont until they can move back home. Practice is currently conducted three times a week at the Club West facilities located in La Verne.
“For Pomona College to step up and do this shows tremendous understanding and willingness,” Public Relations Director Charles Bentley said. “It shows the kind of mentality of sportsmanship that exists in this conference.”
?Renovation of the athletic pavilion will include the addition of four new mezzanines on the second floor and an additional third floor level. Overall, the entire facility will increase in size by 25 percent.
The space being used on the new mezzanines includes additional cardio and weight training equipment in addition to the facility on the first floor, an aerobic/dance studio and additional storage areas.
Also being constructed are classrooms, restrooms, stairwells, utility and janitorial closets and a brand new elevator.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of the project is the construction of a third level viewing area above the court.
The third level will contain two sections, one in which a will house for coaches offices will be installed.
The other section will contain a Hall of Fame room that will serve as an observation box for events in the gym.
The installation of brand new interior tent lining which acts as the roof for the facility will also be part of the renovation. The new lining will replace the old and weary tent lining which has not been replaced since the Pavilion was built.
“It will give great insulation to make the building more energy efficient,” Director of Facilities Management Brian Worley said.
People who have frequented the tents during the spring or during the early stages of the fall when it can become really hot know how warm it can get inside the tents. The new tent lining will help in this aspect.
“The lining will allow hot air to get out which improves everything,” Bentley said.
It would appear to those who visit the campus on a regular basis that not much progress is being made. The progression of the project and the inconveniences have received interesting responses from those affected.
“We have had some mixed responses from people,” President Steve Morgan said. “I think we will very quickly forget the inconvenience once this is complete.”
With construction ongoing and athletic teams being displaced temporarily, the Oct. 15 date looms on the calendars of administrators and coaches at ULV.
The date is an important one in that if the facility were to open then, volleyball would be able to play a majority of their conference schedule in the comfort of their own backyard.
Also, the homecoming football game is Oct. 15 against Cal Lutheran. Perhaps most importantly, the men’s and women’s basketball teams are eligible to start practicing together on this date.
“We do not want to put our athletes and coaches at a disadvantage if everyone else is practicing on Oct. 15,” Bentley said.
Despite the different routes students must take to class, the displacement of the volleyball team and grumblings from students and faculty, the future of the University of La Verne students and athletes is heading in the right direction.
“It is about a journey and a process,” Ragsdale said. “It is an exciting future for us.”
Steven Falls can be reached at email@example.com.